What can China expect from Gary Locke?
Updated: 2011-08-16 12:18
By Han Dongping (chinadaily.com.cn)
Gary Locke, the new American ambassador to China, has arrived in Beijing with his family. As a grandson of Chinese immigrants, Locke's appointment by President Obama and confirmation by the US Senate as the first American ambassador of Chinese descent to China represents a personal success, adding a new credential to his place in history as the first governor of Chinese descent in the continental United States, and the first Secretary of Commerce of Chinese descent in US history.
President Obama appointed Locke to replace Jon Huntsman, Jr., in an effort to improve his administration's rugged relationship with China. I would argue that it was a good move on his part. By appointing the first American ambassador of Chinese descent, he definitely has appealed to the Chinese American community in the US, which will help secure their support in his bid for reelection in next year's presidential election.
Locke is an American of Chinese descent, but he is first of all an American politician. He is sent to China to represent the best interests of the United States in China. Because he is of Chinese descent, he needs to work harder for the United States in order to prove his allegiance to the United States of America.
As a minority in the US, particularly of Chinese descent, one has to overcome more obstacles in order to succeed, especially in the field of politics. Locke's successful political career indicates that he has done a good job proving himself as a good American politician.
As ambassador to China, Locke will fight harder for American national interests in order to gain approval in the United States. He will be tougher and more aggressive than some of his predecessors. The Chinese government should be prepared to deal with the American ambassador with a Chinese face, which can be very deceptive.
Many Chinese people refer to Chinese Americans as bananas for good reason. They may have a Chinese face, but inside they are as white as any white person. They also tend to have a stronger sense of superiority toward Chinese people, even more so than their white counterparts sometimes.
Locke should fight for American national interests as hard as he can, but he should also do it as wisely as he can. Constantly challenging Chinese national interests without benefiting the United States is stupid, and will hurt long-term American national interests in the end.
The US and China should practice a mutual give-and-take relationship. The US does not benefit from casual meetings between the US president and the Dalai Lama except to irritate the Chinese government. The US sale of weapons to Taiwan could increase American exports in the short term, but would also jeopardize the Sino-US relationship, which would cost the US more in the long run. The US's decision to inject itself into the territorial disputes in the South China Sea only adds oil to the fire in the international disputes there, and in the end could drag the US into an unwanted confrontation with China.
I hope that both China and the US will make an effort to improve their relationship for the sake of world peace. Gary Locke, as the new American ambassador to China, must make it his responsibility to make sure that the Sino-US relationship is on the right track.
Li Xing, China Daily's assistant editor-in-chief and veteran columnist, died of a cerebral hemorrhage on Aug 7 in Washington DC, US.
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