AP PHOTO/ZHAOHUI TIn this photo provided by ZhaoHui Tang, former Washington Gov. Gary Locke, who is the first Chinese-American ambassador to China, orders coffee at Seattle Tacoma International Airport on Aug. 12, 2011. ZhaoHui Tang, a businessman who snapped a photo of Locke carrying his own backpack and ordering his own coffee at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport says he’s surprised by the big, admiring response the picture generated among Chinese citizens not used to such frugality.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner:

Chen Guangcheng with his family at a hospital in Beijing, China, on May 1, 2012. U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, James Brown, and Regional Medical Officer Wayne Quillin are also pictured. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

China Daily, a state-run English-language newspaper, at first applauded his Everyman image, suggesting, “Perhaps it is time for Chinese dignitaries to follow the example of humble Locke.”

But Guangming Daily, an influential Communist Party newspaper, charged that Mr. Locke’s appointment “reveals the despicable intention of the United States to use a Chinese to control the Chinese and incite political chaos in China.” ….

“I don’t know what is in the mind of the government’s newspapers,” he said last week. “I am not here to make a statement about the lifestyle of Chinese leaders.”

Nonetheless, he does.

Being Chinese-American in China

Everyone should read this article, which explores how Gary Locke’s nomination as the first Chinese American US Ambassador to China is stirring strong emotions amongst the Chinese and conflicting feelings about race, national identity and patriotism. The article struck a chord with my own experience as a Chinese American studying abroad here in Beijing for the past month, particularly this passage:

China’s state-run Global Times quoted an analyst saying Locke would understand the Chinese way of dealing with issues, including “the subtleness that can be difficult to explain in words.”

But a deep antagonism is evident in a profusion of less-than-diplomatic commentary on the Internet in China.

“A fake foreign devil who cannot even speak Chinese,” wrote one anonymous contributor to an Internet forum on public affairs.

“I don’t like this guy who has forgotten his ancestors” wrote someone from Dalian on a popular news site, while another from Sichuan piped in: “If he wanted to be Chinese, he wouldn’t live in America.”

Some Chinese call the 61-year-old commerce secretary a “traitor” and resort to ethnic slurs to disparage his being born and raised in the United States.

The hostility is no surprise to Chinese Americans who live or work in China and are alternately embraced as long-lost relatives or scorned for deserting the motherland. They often aren’t recognized as foreigners and have difficulty getting into diplomatic compounds where many expatriates reside.

What rattled me about this passage is how accurately it paralleled my own experience over the past few weeks. I am an expatriate, but I don’t look like one. I am ethnically Chinese, but I don’t truly act like one. I have gotten outright stares from people for speaking English with my friends in a public place, and treated rudely when I take extra time to form my sentences in Mandarin or apologize to explain that I am American. On the flip side, I have also spoken with smiling taxi drivers who are fascinated by my background, and have been welcomed by warm, curious university students who are so open to become my friends.

I have yet to fully grasp the reasons why such conflicting views exist towards Chinese Americans, and the hateful comments spreading on the Internet regarding Locke’s appointment only seem to confirm the the existence of negativity that some Chinese feel towards Chinese Americans. I can only hope that Mr. Locke is not unfairly judged by the Chinese simply on his background, but instead by his true efforts to strengthen the US-China relationship. 

What is a 'Presidential Alert'?
Amplify’d from

The Federal Communications Commission has approved plans to hold the first test of a “Presidential Alert,” or a broadcast warning that might be issued in the event of a serious natural disaster or terrorism threat.

It may seem like a scene out of George Orwell’s “1984” or some other apocalyptic Hollywood blockbuster, but government officials have wanted for years to establish a way for the White House to quickly, directly alert Americans of impending danger.

Commissioners voted last week to require television and radio stations, cable systems and satellite TV providers to participate in a test that would have them receive and transmit a live code that includes an alert message issued by the president. No date has been set for the test.

It would be a national version of the tests that already occur everyday on broadcast television stations to test a system that issues warning when tornadoes or severe thunderstorms strike or AMBER Alerts are issued for missing children.

“There’s never been a test from top to bottom where it’s issued by FEMA and it goes straight down to all the different levels of EAS to the American public,” Lisa Fowlkes, with the FCC’s public safety and homeland security bureau told Federal News Radio on Monday. “So this is a way for us to glean, okay, if there were an actual emergency and the federal government needed to activate the Presidential EAS, making sure that it actually works the way it’s designed to.”

 See this Amp at

Secretary Kerry Poses For ‘Selfie’ With Former Ambassador Locke Following Trade Speech at Boeing Co. in Washington von U.S. Department of State
Über Flickr:
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry poses for a "selfie" with Gary Locke, former U.S. Ambassador to China, Commerce Secretary, and Governor of Washington, and his wife, Mona, after delivering a speech about U.S. and Pacific regional trade policy on May 19, 2015, at the Boeing Co.’s 737 assembly plant in Renton, Washington. [State Department Photo/Public Domain]

Two years ago, Gary Locke arrived in Beijing as the new U.S. ambassador. Now, Locke has announced that he will resign his post early in 2014 to rejoin his family in Seattle. Locke handled a number of diplomatic crises during his tenure, including the visit of former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, which set in motion the downfall of Bo Xilai, and the harboring of activist Chen Guangcheng in the U.S. embassy in Beijing. Chinese netizens bid him adieu.

Bryson is a former chairman and chief executive officer of Edison International, a California-based energy company. He also has an extensive background in environmental issues, having co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council and served on a United Nation’s advisory group on energy and climate change.

If confirmed by the Senate, Bryson would replace outgoing Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, whom Obama recently named as his next ambassador to China.

(thanks wardashara for the tip)

What Questions Do You Have for the US Ambassador to China? #AskAmbLocke

On Monday, December 17, at 5 p.m. ET, Asia Society will launch its Asia: Beyond the Headlines discussion series with U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, who will be joined on our New York stage by George Stephanopoulos, of ABC News, and Asia Society’s own Orville Schell.

Read the full story here.

When I was inside the American Embassy, I didn’t have my family, and so I didn’t understand some things. After I was able to meet them, my ideas changed.
—  Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng • During a phone interview conducted from his hospital room. After telling U.S. Ambadassor Gary Locke that he wanted to remain in China, Guangcheng has had a change of heart, and his now reportedly requesting asylum in the U.S. “He made it very, very clear from the very, very beginning that he wanted to stay in China,” said Locke, adding, “he wanted to be part of the struggle to improve the human rights within China." When asked why he’d had such a sudden change of heart, Chen replied, "I feel very unsafe. My rights and safety cannot be assured here.” Guangcheng told reporters that his family is living under constant surveillance by the Chinese officials, and that several have threatened Chen and his family. source (viafollow)

Photo of bag-carrying ambassador charms China

SEATTLE (AP) — A photo of the new U.S. ambassador to China carrying his own backpack and ordering his own coffee at an airport has charmed Chinese citizens not used to such frugality from their officials.

ZhaoHui Tang, a businessman from Bellevue, Washington, snapped the photo Friday on his iPhone when he spotted Gary Locke at the counter of an airport Starbucks. Locke is the first Chinese-American ambassador to China and a former governor of Washington state.

Tang uploaded the photo to the Chinese social media network Sina Weibo because he thought it was cool to run into the new ambassador at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

He didn’t expect it to generate 40,000 reposts and thousands of comments.

“This is something unbelievable in China,” said Tang, a Chinese-American citizen. “Even for low-ranking officials, we don’t do things for ourselves. Someone goes to buy the coffee for them. Someone carries their bags for them.”

Locke tried to use a coupon or voucher for the coffee, but the barista rejected it, Tang said. The ambassador then paid with a credit card, he said.

Tang, chief executive of an Internet advertising firm called adSage, was flying from Seattle to Silicon Valley. Locke was leaving for China from the next gate over.

Tang introduced himself to Locke when he took the picture and wished him luck in the new job.

A photograph taken last Friday of Gary F. Locke, the new United States ambassador to China, buying coffee with his 6-year-old daughter and carrying a black backpack at a Starbucks in the Seattle airport has gone viral on the Chinese Internet. The seemingly banal scene has bewildered and disarmed Chinese because they are used to seeing their own officials indulge in privileged lives often propped up by graft and bribery and lavish expense accounts.

The Photo That's Taking China By Storm

You would think the Chinese would have more important things to do, like roll around in US Treasury bills, but no.

This is a picture of the new US Ambassador to China, Gary Locke, buying coffee at Starbucks in the Seattle airport. Locke was US Commerce Secretary until earlier this year and was the first Chinese-American to serve in a Cabinet position, something the Chinese took a certain pride in seeing. But now this seemingly-uninteresting picture of Locke, doing something that wouldn’t typically attract the slightest attention, has gone viral in China.

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