Europe's key power France has recently entered into a political battle with Beijing amid rising anti-China sentiments in the continent and aggressive diplomacy by Chinese diplomats

Europe's key power France has recently entered into a political battle with Beijing amid rising anti-China sentiments in the continent and aggressive diplomacy by Chinese diplomats. The French ministry of foreign affairs recently summoned Chinese ambassador for 'objectionable' articles on Chinese embassy’s website. The ministry last week summoned Chinese ambassador, Lu Shaye, to express its deep disapproval of Chinese diplomats’ claims that France had left its older citizens to die during the CoronaVirus crisis.

The controversy follows a series of posts on the Chinese embassy’s (Paris) website, ascribed to a Chinese diplomat, resulting in an article saying: “Residents of retirement homes were made to sign certificates of 'waiver of emergency care'; the nursing staff of the Ehpad abandoned their posts overnight, deserted collectively, leaving their residents to die of hunger and disease.” “Some recent public statements by representatives of the Chinese embassy in France do not conform to the quality of the bilateral relationship between our two countries,” said the French foreign ministry.

Meanwhile, in Germany, Julian Reichelt, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Bild criticised Chinese president Xi Jinping for his regime’s failure to come clean about the COVID-19 outbreak. In his letter to Xi, Reichelt said, “Your embassy in Berlin has addressed me in an open letter because we asked in our newspaper Bild whether China should pay for the massive economic damage the CoronaVirus is inflicting worldwide.” “You [Xi], your government and your scientists had to known long ago that CoronaVirus is highly infectious, but you left the world in the dark about it. Your top experts didn’t respond when Western researchers asked to know what was going on in Wuhan. You were too proud and too nationalistic to tell the truth, which you felt was a national disgrace,” stated the letter.

Spokesperson for Chinese embassy in Berlin, Tao Lil, published an open letter to Bild on the embassy’s website. “I followed your reporting on the corona pandemic in general and China’s alleged guilt, in particular, today. Apart from the fact that we consider it a pretty bad style to blame a country for a pandemic that is affecting the whole world and then to present an explicit account of alleged Chinese debts to Germany, the article ignores some essential facts,” stated the letter. In Netherlands, the Chinese embassy accused the newspaper Volkskrant of running 'far-fetched and malicious' stories. Chinese ambassador to Cyprus, Huang Xingyuan, was also in trouble for saying the world was embarrassed by how quickly China had solved the virus outbreak, and had resorted to “blame shifting and lies”. In another post he wrote: “Sad to see #Boris [Johnson] tested positive and confirmed cases surpassing 100k in US. Hope it’s not the result of herd immunity policy.”

China has been embroiled in social media disputes not only in Europe, but in Khazakstan, Iran and Singapore. It has also argued with the Brazilian education minister over statements that Beijing planned world domination. In Sri Lanka, the Chinese embassy’s Twitter account has only just been restored after it was shut down for allegedly being inflammatory. According to the thinktank The German Marshall Fund, Twitter accounts linked to the Chinese embassies, consulates and ambassadors have increased by more than 250% since the start of the Hong Kong anti-government protests in March 2019. From September to December alone, China’s diplomatic corps created more than 40 new accounts.