Do liberal-democratic states yield to public criticism by China? This research project explores this question by analysing Chinese “anger diplomacy” – episodes where Chinese officials or express anger. Through its so-called “wolf warrior” diplomacy, China has lashed out against both states and non-state actors that are “hurting the feelings of the Chinese people,” for example when the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize to the dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010, or when the manager of the NBA team Houston Rockets in a tweet expressed support of protesters in Hong Kong. Expressing anger is distinct from normal diplomatic exchanges, as it is formulated in an emotionally charged register and presented publicly. ANGER will build a database of cases where China has expressed anger, and thoroughly analyse individual episodes. We aim to i) systematically describe China’s use of emotionally charged criticism ii) explain the variation in response to such criticism in liberal-democratic states; and iii) assess how such anger diplomacy may boost or undercut China’s influence. The database-construction is ongoing, and the preliminary conclusions will be triangulated through a set of case-studies that go in-depth on particular empirically and methodologically salient episodes of “wolf warrior” diplomacy. The project members have through public presentations and internal workshops been discussing the quantitative aspects of the database’s mapping of cases – in addition to working on articles constituting a comprehensive range of cases, covering both a broad geographical spectre (eg. UK and Japan) and a broad spectre of modalities (eg. Companies, governments, and international institutions) of the case universe of Chinese “anger diplomacy”.
Do liberal-democratic states yield to public criticism by China? ANGER approaches this question by focusing on China's use of "anger diplomacy" - public, vehement displays at the state level in response to a perceived offense. Drawing on the literature of emotions in international relations, ANGER will explain when and how such diplomacy may boost or undercut China's international influence. With a strong team combining area-expertise with theoretical innovation, the project will systematically map episodes of Chinese anger, and conduct comparative analysis of the effects of Chinese anger diplomacy directed against state and non-state actors. By assessing how state-society relations may explain variation in responses and effects of such diplomacy, ANGER seeks to identify causal mechanisms at work. The project will further contribute to broader debates about hegemony, power-political competition, and the rise of China.