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China’s Wolf Warrior Defanged

Zhao Lijian was once known as China's "Wolf Warrior" for his provocative attacks against Beijing's critics while serving as Foreign Ministry spokesman. Image via the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

China’s most prominent Wolf Warrior diplomat, Zhao Lijian, has been moved from his previous position as Foreign Ministry spokesperson to a new post as Deputy Director of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs.

While the shift is technically a lateral move, some see it as a sign that Beijing is retreating from Zhao’s signature combative approach. It is also notable that the spokesperson role was traditionally led to more prominent positions – Qin Gang, the new Foreign Minister, used to be a spokesperson – and the move seems to have derailed Zhao’s progress along that path.

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