The provocateur driving China's 'wolf warrior' pack

Zhao Lijian’s aggressive tactics, while reviled in Western countries, have won him a loyal following at home

As China’s most high-profile official on Twitter, with nearly 860,000 followers, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, 48, has built a personal brand that is rare for someone in his position. For Beijing, he has crystallised a model for diplomacy with a jagged edge and driven the shift away from an older generation of more conservative and restrained engagement, analysts said. PHOTO: REUTERS

(FINANCIAL TIMES) - Mr Zhao Lijian thrives on controversy. Aggressive promotion of China's interests is expected for a foreign ministry spokesman, but Mr Zhao has pioneered an extreme approach by becoming a populist provocateur who owes his career to a willingness to shock, needle and troll Beijing's critics on Twitter.

For Beijing, he has crystallised a model for diplomacy with a jagged edge and driven the shift away from an older generation of more conservative and restrained engagement, analysts said.

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