TAIPEI — When a scuffle at a diplomatic party became the latest flashpoint for Beijing to assert its sovereignty over Taiwan, the island used the ugly incident to stand up for its democratic values and highlight the pettiness of China’s aggression.
Chinese officials have been accused of gate-crashing an event to commemorate Taiwan’s National Day in Fiji on Oct. 8 and starting a melee that left a Taiwanese diplomat in the hospital. Foreign Minister Joseph Wu proclaimed Taiwan a “force for good in the world” and condemned China’s “uncivilized ‘wolf warriors'” — a phrase used to describe hawkish diplomacy, taken from a Chinese patriotic action blockbuster.
China’s officials were carrying out “official duties” outside the venue when Taiwan staff “acted provocatively,” a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry told reporters, noting that a “false national flag was openly displayed at the scene, and a cake was also marked with a false national flag.”
Taiwan, which China insists is a breakaway province to be taken by force if necessary and forbids international recognition of under its “One China” policy, has become adept at deflecting Chinese diplomatic aggression. The island uses its soft — or “cat warrior” — power to counter attacks on its sovereignty, promoting itself as a freedom-loving peaceful nation in contrast to a bellicose China.
Negative views of China have reached historic highs in 14 advanced economies, according to recent surveys by the Pew Research Center. Global distrust of Beijing has grown as it tightens its grip on Hong Kong and steps up military action across the Asia-Pacific region and amid accusations that China covered up the initial spread of the coronavirus.