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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Scores of Chinese diplomats and embassies around the world have opened Twitter accounts over the past six months.

The state of play: Many of them are now using the social media platform to post accusations, boasts and name-calling directed at governments and individuals they feel have insulted China.

  • This aggressive strategy is known as "Wolf Warrior diplomacy," named after a patriotic Chinese action movie from 2017 in which a Chinese soldier saves the day in a series of adventures across Africa. (The film's popularity in China boosted it to become the highest-grossing non-English film ever.)

What they're saying: "What's behind China's perceived 'Wolf Warrior' style diplomacy is the changing strengths of China and the West," an April 16 article in the Chinese tabloid Global Times stated. "The days when China can be put in a submissive position are long gone. China's rising status in the world, requires it to safeguard its national interests in an unequivocal way."

  • But, but, but: The target of Chinese diplomatic ire often isn't Western countries, but developing nations like India and Venezuela.

Below are some examples.

  • Xu Hong, the Chinese ambassador to the Netherlands, called Trump's use of the phrase "Chinese virus" a "political virus to international solidarity and cooperation:"
  • Ji Rong, the spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in India, tweeted that calls for China to provide financial compensation for the spread of the coronavirus abroad were "ridiculous & eye-catching nonsense."
  • The Chinese Embassy in Caracas criticized unnamed Venezuelan officials for referring to the coronavirus as the "Chinese" or "Wuhan" virus and ended the angry Twitter thread by telling the officials to "put on a face mask and shut up."

The bottom line: China wants other countries to know who's boss.

Go deeper: China takes a page from Russia's disinformation playbook

Go deeper

Jul 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

FBI director Wray warns of China election interference

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

FBI Director Christopher Wray and other intelligence community officials warned about China’s increased capability to interfere in U.S. elections in separate classified hearings with the Senate Intelligence Committee this week, two sources familiar with the hearings tell Axios.

What we're hearing: Wray and other officials cited concerns that China is developing the ability to interfere with local election systems and target members of Congress to influence China policy, the sources said.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sydney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.