Peter Martin on ‘China’s Civilian Army: The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy’


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This week on Sinica, Kaiser and Jeremy chat with Peter Martin, a correspondent for Bloomberg based in Washington, D.C., about his book, China’s Civilian Army: The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy. This highly readable and informative book tells the story of China’s diplomatic corps from its creation ex nihilo under the guidance of Zhōu Ēnlái 周恩来 during the Communist Party’s years in Yan’an in the 1930s and 1940s through the foundation of the P.R.C., the vicissitudes of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, and the period of reform and opening up to the current, more assertive, and often pugilistic present under Xí Jìnpíng 习近平. Peter also offers his take on last week’s interview on Sinica with Ambassador Huáng Píng 黄屏, the consul general of China’s New York consulate.

7:48: The centrality of the national humiliation narrative to the institutional foundations of China’s Foreign Ministry

15:02: The contributions and diplomatic styles of prominent contemporaries such as Qián Qíchēn 钱其琛, Dài Bǐngguó 戴秉国, Yáng Jiéchí 杨洁篪, and Wáng Yì 王毅

24:46: The rise of Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhào Lìjiān 赵立坚

47:28: Understanding Chinese diplomacy’s hard turn amidst a culture of discipline

A transcript of this episode is available on


Jeremy: Hummingbird feeders with homemade sugar water nectar.

Peter: The podcast series Dolly Parton’s America

Kaiser: The movie The Green Knight, based on the Arthurian legend, directed by David Lowery.