Today, over the internet, two-term Washington state governor and former Commerce Secretary, Gary Locke, Ambassador of China, has become the most popular figure among the Chinese citizens. Not because his ancestral roots originate from Taishan, China when his grandfather immigrated to the USA about a century ago, but because his simplicity has impressed normal citizens. Before Locke arrived at Beijing, he described himself as “banana” – meaning yellow skin (i.e., Chinese face) in the outside, but white-people’s thinking inside of his brain (Talk to Asian, CNN, November 2011). Along with his daughter, Locke was photographed at the Seattle airport when they were trying to pay for his coffee with a coupon. Subsequently, these photos were circulated in Chinese microblog. Although he does not speak the Chinese language, unlike his predecessor Jon Huntsman who speaks Mandarin fluently, the Chinese citizens love Gary Locke. When Locke landed at the Beijing airport, there are no followers, no guards, no flowers, no applause or warm welcoming extravagant show (Japan Times 4 December 2011). People contrast Locke with the Chinese higher officials, who have been corrupt for years. Like ordinary people, Gary Locke has been labeled the “Minister of Truth,” reflecting the frustration among Chinese citizens. But, state-owned media, such as Global Times or Guangming Daily has been critical about Locke because the government has ordered no reporting on news of Locke’s family.
Source: Seattle Times (access date: 15 January 2012)