An article in Thursday’s issue of Le Monde France was headlined: China’s Ambassador to France and the “War of Public Opinion”. According to the article, Chinese ambassador to France Lu Shanno has often been called a “war wolf” because of his diplomatic style. Lu explained this in a lengthy interview in the Wednesday, June 16 issue of the Chinese magazine L’Observatoire and in an interview in the Thursday issue of the French newspaper l’Opinion. Luciano openly accepted the title of “war wolf” and said he was defending China from the “mad dogs” attack.
According to the Le Monde article, in Luciano’s view, the role of ambassador is not necessarily to project a good image of China in the country where he is posted, but to please his Chinese compatriots. Speaking about his style in the Monitor, he said, “The criterion for evaluating our work is not how foreigners see us, but how the Chinese see us. (……) We can’t stop doing that just because they [Westerners] are unhappy.”
The Le Monde article said the French Foreign Ministry summoned Roussano at least four times, mainly because of his lies about a French nursing home and insults to a French researcher. For his part, Roussano argued that he had “received support from netizens and the public” in China, which he said was the most important thing. In addition, Roussano said that Beijing is only responding to Westerners who are “aggressive” and threaten Chinese interests. He concluded, “The fundamental reason for the change in our diplomatic style is the change in the international situation and our own strength.”
In this struggle, Lushano said, it is not just the responsibility of diplomats to loudly convey the voice of China. The Chinese media and academia must also step up to the plate. Lu Shanno even launched a “Guide to the Perfect War Wolf” while congratulating the Monitor and the Global Times. He said, “We need media and academics with strong political convictions, self-confidence, in-depth knowledge of international relations and strong articulation skills. We don’t need more than that. With two or three groups and a few people, we can be the front-runners in the public opinion war, and coordinate this public opinion war well with our diplomatic system to form a three-dimensional struggle model.”
In order to “constantly improve and refine” China’s capabilities in the present and future “struggle,” General Luciano is also prepared to recruit netizens born in the 1990s who have no reason to feel inferior. He therefore congratulated the nationalist cartoonist Uhe Kirin, whose picture of Australian soldiers slaughtering a symbolic naive lamb sparked official protests by the Canberra authorities in 2020.
In the same spirit, Lushano wants to help foreigners who are defending China’s image in the West. These foreigners are victims of a “lack of real freedom of expression,” according to Luciano. All this agitation is positive, and China is “getting better and better prepared” for the “war of public opinion” ahead, according to Luciano.
In an interview with the French newspaper Le Moniteur, Lu Shano explained that the term “war wolf” has a positive meaning in China because he is a brave warrior who defends his country. Luciano said he was “honored to be called a ‘war wolf’ because there are too many rabid dogs attacking China. He said we are the soldiers who are fighting against these mad dogs and defending China.
The Le Monde article notes that since December 1, 2019, this is the fourth time that the Chinese ambassador to France has spoken in the liberal French newspaper La République, twice in forum articles and twice in interviews. This shows that Beijing wants to see more appearances by Chinese diplomats in influential global media. The newspaper Rhetoric has a commercial relationship with China Daily advertisers, and on March 11, during China’s two sessions, Rhetoric published a double-page advertisement for the People’s Daily writing plan.
The Le Monde article in question also noted that Claude Leblanc, who most recently interviewed Lushano, spent two hours with Lushano. The journalist explained to Le Monde that “we think it’s normal to let the Chinese make statements, and it’s clear that they have very different views than we do, even if they express them in a way that is excessive.” However, Le Monde noted that the journalist did not use the word “repression” in relation to the Uighurs, nor did he mention that Lusano had been summoned for insulting France on Twitter. However, LeBlanc replied to this, “I don’t think I didn’t address these topics in a direct way.”
The Le Monde article also stated that on May 31, the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, chaired by Xi Jinping, released a foreign policy-oriented report. The lengthy article said that China should be more vocal on the international stage and present a “lovely and respectable” image. Some have concluded that Xi Jinping has asked the war wolves to stop howling. But this is clearly not Lu Shanno’s interpretation. Far from being a lone wolf, Lu Shanno now dreams of becoming the head wolf of the pack.