Rising to China’s defense is a generation of diplomats and pundits dubbed the “Wolf Warriors,” after a recent pair of blockbuster action films featuring a muscled, globe-trotting Chinese commando who vanquishes Asian drug lords, African pirates and mercenaries led by a villainous American named Big Daddy.
The diplomats’ fields of battle are social media platforms — usually Twitter and Facebook, which are banned in China. Their weapons include outrage, sarcasm, an abiding suspicion of Western governments and the press, conspiracy theories and, it seems, the support of the Chinese leadership.
“In this environment in China, there’s no punishment for people who are overzealous in defending China,” said Kerry Brown, director of the Lau China Institute at King’s College London. “You’re not going to lose your job if you overstep. Everyone is trying to demonstrate their loyalty.”