Edinburgh Zoo: Departure of two famous residents underlines China's switch from 'panda diplomacy' to aggressive 'wolf warrior' approach – Scotsman comment
So farewell to Sunshine and Sweetie. These giant pandas, properly called Yang Guang and Tian Tian, are to return to their native China in December after 12 years at Edinburgh Zoo.
In 2011, relations between China and the world's democracies looked hopeful, with Beijing’s approach to foreign policy typified by such ‘panda diplomacy’. Times have changed. The year after the pandas arrived, Xi Jinping became general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, the following year he was president and then, in 2018, his government helpfully agreed he could be ‘president for life’.
Panda diplomacy has been overshadowed by a markedly different approach adopted under Xi: “wolf warrior diplomacy”. Dissidents who flee overseas and critics like Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith are harassed and intimidated, while Chinese officials have even taken part in attacks on demonstrators in the UK. Xi’s glowing relations with Russian despot Putin and the build-up of military tension over Taiwan suggest he may be planning an invasion of his own.
We urge Xi to turn back from the brink and take inspiration from two peaceful giants who will be much missed.
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