• Thu
  • Nov 27, 2014
  • Updated: 2:42pm

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.    


US envoy says China can learn from Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 February, 2013, 5:16pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 February, 2013, 5:30pm

The US ambassador to China expressed caution on Tuesday over hopes for reform under Beijing’s new leadership and said the mainland should turn to Hong Kong for inspiration.

Gary Locke told an economic conference in Hong Kong that the US-China relationship remains “fundamentally very, very strong” but said the world’s second-largest economy could only benefit from further liberalisation.

“Hong Kong is an excellent example of what can be done and how important it is to lead in the economic realm with the principles of openness, freedom and transparency,” he told the conference, organised by US bank Goldman Sachs.

“It is also an example that China can learn from and in doing so, optimise China’s own progress and development,” he said.

Locke, a former US commerce secretary and the first Chinese American to hold the post, remained cautious when asked about the prospects of reform under China’s newly elected Communist Party leader Xi Jinping, who is set to take over as president in March.

“I believe everyone inside and outside of China is very hopeful but time will only tell, so we’re going to have to wait for several months or even a year to really see what the priorities are (for the new leadership),” he said.

Xi was seen to be signalling a push for economic reforms when he chose to visit the southern boomtown of Shenzhen in his first official trip as the ruling party leader in December, where he vowed to continue “reform and opening”.

But Locke said that many industries had expressed concerns over restrictions on investment in China, which they felt were “very troublesome”.

Foreign direct investment in China declined for the first time in three years last year, official data showed, and some US businesses have linked it to investment barriers.

Ownership restrictions are imposed in a large number of sectors, although Beijing has moved to ease these limitations.

“I think we really need to try to push for even further opening because it’s in the economic self-interest of the Chinese people and the Chinese government,” Locke said.

A third-generation Chinese American whose grandfather emigrated to the US, Locke created a buzz in Beijing when he took the US envoy role in 2011 and was nicknamed “the backpacker” for his frugal travelling habits.

He arrived in Beijing carrying his own luggage and in a regular car, with little of the ceremony that usually surrounds Chinese dignitaries abroad.


Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

Hi Governor Lock. with ALL DUE RESPECT i am sorry Man, under your governorship at the great state of WA, our infrastructure is like 3rd world, especially and particularly around the CLink/Safeco Field, International District where pot holes, broken streets is the new normal (not a rare phenomenon), even some unpaved roads like mexican hill country. by the way, don't come to SODO/International District after dark, unless you want your "fix". i bet you also know the great City of Seattle's homicide rate is 4x of HongKong even though we have less than 30% of HongKong's population. and i am not even going to touch on our school system. talking about "learning from Hong Kong"... may be you should come back here and talk to our guys @ city hall and Olympia about "learning from hong kong"?


SCMP.com Account