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  • Aug 21, 2014
  • Updated: 5:48am

Gary Locke

Former US ambassador to China, Gary Locke is a Chinese-American who was born in Seattle. He graduated from Yale and holds a law degree from Boston University. Locke was elected as the Governor of Washington twice, the nation’s first Chinese-American governor in history. Locke then served as Secretary of Commerce under the Obama administration in 2009 before assuming his role as ambassador to China on August 1, 2011.    

NewsChina Insider
DIPLOMACY

Scorn and gratitude in China for departing US Ambassador Gary Locke

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 February, 2014, 1:57pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 March, 2014, 1:18pm

A Chinese state-run news agency's scathing farewell to US Ambassador Gary Locke on Friday stood in stark contrast to well-wishing farewells from many Chinese citizens, who applauded his efforts to raise awareness on air pollution.

Locke, 64, is set to leave Beijing on Saturday after two and a half years as the first American ambassador of Chinese descent to the country. His stint was defined by his frugality, his emphasis on the rule of law in China and his role in granting US asylum to rights activist Chen Guangcheng.

In a farewell conference on Thursday, Locke praised the development of economic ties between the two countries, but chastised China for its human rights record. He called on the Chinese government to accept more criticism at home and from abroad.

“China should have the national self-confidence to withstand the media scrutiny that most of the world takes for granted,” he said.

On Friday, China News Service, the nation’s second biggest news wire after Xinhua, did not mince its words in its goodbye message to the former US Secretary of Commerce who traces his ancestral roots to Jilong, a village in Guangdong province.

In a commentary inspired by Mao Zedong's scornful message to Leighton Stuart, the last American ambassador to the Kuomintang government, who left Nanjing in 1949, the news wire said Locke was a "yellow-skinned white-hearted banana man".

“Mr Locke not only does not understand the writing of his ancestors, but also failed to understand Chinese law,” said the commentary. “He particularly likes to gesticulate profusely and criticise indiscriminately Chinese domestic affairs.”

“Every time US officials visited China, Mr Locke would send a report and talk up China’s so-called human rights and Tibetan issues, suggesting to US officials to use the opportunity to pound China,” it added.

“If your ancestors had known about [your professional record], they would have thrown you out of the house,” wrote the state-run news agency.

It also accused Locke of “inciting evil winds, lighting evil fires” in his visits to Xinjiang and Tibet, where he criticised Chinese authorities for their treatment of ethnic minorities and for exploiting Beijing’s air pollution as a publicity stunt. 

The news agency's bitter farewell stood in stark contrast with online chatter about his departure. 

Internet users remembered him for his frugal lifestyle. In the early days of his term, photos of the ambassador queueing up at a Starbucks and flying economy class had gone viral.

The US embassy’s release of air pollution data had further bolstered his image. “Gary Locke’s biggest contribution was to tell the Chinese people what PM2.5 is, and also to tell Chinese ambassadors that they can fly economy class,” television actor Sun Haiying wrote in a weibo post.

The US embassy has released measurements of smog-induced fine particles known as PM2.5 for years. Last year, Locke ordered thousands of air purifiers for his staff in China.

In a joke circulating on Sina Weibo, China's answer to Twitter, a journalist asks Locke: “China is your ancestral home, will you take home some of your ancestral home’s soil?” Locke replies, “I am. I’ve filled my lungs with it.”
 

 

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This article is now closed to comments

ejmciii
More racist musings from the mouthpiece of the most racist operation known to man. Sorry that Ambo Locke does not accept your view of Chinese culture that all people must bow down to the teachings of the Glorious Communist Party. Being ethnic Chinese does not mean that one must pay homage to the psychopaths who run the PRC. Good on you, Mr. Ambassador. We need more people like you and fewer of the Ministry of Propaganda dogs.
whymak
SpeakFreely:
You show a total ignorance of China's meritocratic system.
Provincial governors and municipality mayors -- on the same level as province chiefs -- in PRC are never chosen from the indigenous population, including Hebei, where Beijing is located. For example, Wang Anshun is a native of Henan. Before Beijing mayor, he went through a host of jobs all over the country including Jilin, Gansu and Shanghai. Huang Xinguo, the mayor of Tianjin municipality, is a native of Zhejiang, a province in the south.
Sometimes I wonder why folks want to feed themselves with all kinds of misinformation. The reasons for demonizing China might include a defense mechanism for one's own inferiority complex -- a need to feel superior to Chinese.
As a prerequisite for strategic planning years ago, I had to know some chieftains and top officers of US firms, as well as DC politicians in regulatory committees, like the back of my hand. After I study some top Chinese leaders' careers, I find the "working experiences" of elected US senators, House members and CEOs are just a poor imitation of an early Chinese career. There is none of smoke and mirrors of US corporate speak in China's leadership. A US fast tracker mentored by an Exec VP sometimes gets his ticket punched only a year or two before he is promoted. As a result, many US senior executives have little functional skills.
Another living example is when GWB, a moron descended from a political dynasty, became king.
goncalo
"Mr Locke ... failed to understand Chinese law.”
Well, I didn't now such thing existed!
SpeakFreely
The only thing I can say is the US system allows it to appoints/elects the Black, Chinese, Asian, and any race to its officials. But in China, they have to send all top dogs from BJ to manage the china South, west and everywhere everywhere. If you are not from the north or BJ, you can't be a senior official. Is this good chinese culture or just a failure system promoting corruption n loyalty?
HiggsSinglet
this is confucius teaching of how to control and rule!!! this is reflected throughout history. the sad thing about chinese nowadays is that if you say anything bad about confucius, than you do not understand chinese and you are a "running dog". not that different from religion or religious extremists if you are a christian or muslim and if you question christ or alah, you become a nonbeliever and will condemned to hell.
this is why in the past, only scholars can have hopes to become an official, and this reflects in asian culture of wanting to be educated. it is that in those days, it is the ticket to become an official and absolute power in your domain. it does not say anything about the person's character, moral, ability to govern or make good decisions and policies.
ann.wei.121
Oh, Gary Locke failed to understand Chinese Law ? I understand Chinese "Law" ! Who holds power will be God, who loses power will be criminal. That is Chinese Law.
whymak
Both raves and pans of Gary Locke are justified.
His Truman like thrift stands in stark contrast to China's widespread corruption, as well as to rapacious US politicians in this new age of ideological hate. His constant reminder of China's damage to environment from fast paced and unbalanced development serves notice that there are two sides to every coin – benefits come with costs (shadow price).
One-sided criticism is easy; but it’s another matter to define the unique object function for a nation still chained to real world poverty trap set by competitive forces and military threats, in which all rules of the game are controlled by its former tormentors.
China’s official mouthpiece may be shrill, but its underlying tone speaks the truth about foreign and domestic bananas' profound ignorance of a new Weltanschauung due to an emergent ancient civilization state rising from its ashes.
Gary is just another US politician whose shallow, superficial view of value systems bears none of the objective search for truth by John the famous philosopher. All political ideology aside, the only point of contention is whether he will earn a footnote in our history. I speak with sincere good will toward someone who was once the honored guest at my nephew’s wedding.
While setting the record straight in condemning voices of hate and calumny, China needs the Confucian 吾日三省吾身humility in accepting foreign criticism for failures in her national construction.
bolshoi
@whymak: very well said and very profound. I coundn't have said it better.
likey.wang
Its very obvious of cultural difference between libre and communist. Dont judge a book by its cover.!! Gary Locke's background is Chinese, but he was not educated in China.
clc2
Is it possible that the China News Service commentary on Locke was a spoof written by very cynical editorial staff who hate their jobs? If so, it worked. The screed got world-wide attention, mostly in the form of ridicule.
Does Wang Ping even exist?

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