網路潮語、表情包樣樣來!中國「推特外交」嗆辣博眼球 | Insults, typos, ALL-CAPS and emoji set new tone of China ‘Twiplomacy’

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang speaks during a daily briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Beijing, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019. China said the implementation of U.S. bills on Hong Kong human rights will undermine the two countries' "cooperation in important areas. Geng Shuang made the remarks at a press briefing on Thursday in response to a question about whether President Donald Trump's signing of the legislation will impact ongoing trade talks. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)


The style and content of Chinese diplomacy have changed in the era of Twitter, even though the U.S. tech giant has been blocked by Beijing’s Great Firewall for more than a decade.


Late Monday evening in Beijing, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs brought China’s “Twiplomacy” or “hashtag diplomacy” to the next level with the handle “MFA_China” and the bio: “Follow us to know more about China’s Diplomacy.”

幾天之內,華盛頓郵報(The Washington Post)就指出中國外交部的英文推文火藥味十足,辛辣的言論甚至有些近似川普的語調。例如針對在倫敦舉行的北約峰會(NATO)中提到關於中國的評論,該帳號於週四發推文強勢回擊:「威脅與個頭大小並無必然聯繫,單邊主義和霸凌行徑才是威脅。」

A few days later, The Washington Post remarked that the English text on the tweets often takes a combative, even “Trumpian tone”: “Big guy NOT NECESSARILY threat. Unilateralism & hegemony IS,” the account wrote on Thursday, criticizing comments at a NATO summit in London about China.


Later on the same day, another tweet that drew a comparison between China tech and other industries warned about Chinese clothes and shoes with an emoji. “Chinese companies’ involvement in any part of future 5G networks a threat? Security CHECK or TRAP? Sounds aboveboard but absurd. Be careful! Chinese-made clothes and shoes could also be a threat. 🤫”

在更早的推文,中國外交部在談及美國於中國的投資時,甚至還使用 “LOL!” (開懷大笑之意)等網路潮語,在其他推文中更諷刺美國是道德的隱士。在批評加拿大對華為副董孟晚舟的拘捕時還分享了一張芭蕾舞者滿目瘡痍的腳的圖片。

In earlier tweets, the ministry had written “LOL!” when talking about U.S. investment in China, called the United States a “moral loner” and shared an image of a ballet dancer’s battered foot in apparent criticism of the Canadian detention of Meng Wanzhou of Huawei.


A tweet on Wednesday had suggested that the United States should not criticize China’s harsh treatment of the Uighur minority because of “native Indians’ tears & blood.” “China’s ethnic policy is more successful!” the tweet said.


The tweets seem to highlight a shift in how Chinese diplomats approach Twitter recently, according to the Washington Post which noted that a Chinese diplomat who pioneered combative English-language messages earlier this year, Lijian Zhao, has been promoted to deputy director-general of the ministry’s information department.


Zhao has long used his 220,000 followers to promote pro-China messages and troll the United States. “Out of respect for President Trump, US & its people, on the occasion of thanksgiving day, I pay special thanks to U.S. for squandering trillions of dollars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria,” he wrote last week.


In interviews, Zhao has said that China needed to take to Twitter to combat U.S. influence on the platform. But whereas Trump and other U.S. officials tweet in English to a largely domestic audience, the Washington Post noted that China’s Foreign Ministry appears to be targeting international audiences with a sometimes crude message.


In this case, the ministry may be emulating not the U.S. president, but Russian diplomats who have used embassy Twitter accounts to mock and belittle Western democracies, the newspaper noted. ●