Monday June 1, 2020

August 3, 2011

On August 1, the former two-term Washington governor and former Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke, was sworn in as the first Chinese-American ambassador to China. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was present to officiate the ceremony. Speaking glowingly of Locke’s record as a government representative, she noted, “I am confident that we have the right person in Gary Locke to follow through on the commitment made by President Obama and President Hu Jintao to a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship. Gary is going to Beijing at a time when there will be a lot of work for us to do to follow up on with the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, that there will be many difficult issues and challenges to face. But I know that Gary is more than ready to tackle that.”

As the child of Chinese immigrants, 61-year-old Locke was nominated by President Obama in March to replace former ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman. Locke was confirmed easily to the position by the Senate in a voice vote on July 27. He is expected to begin serving his post within two weeks, with his wife, Mona, and their three children joining him in Beijing.

China reacted to the news warmly, believing that Locke’s Chinese heritage will link him better with the Chinese people, bringing Beijing and Washington closer. “Locke’s Chinese background will help him get closer with Chinese officials and Chinese people. To some extent, he understands China better compared with those who don’t have such a background,” approved Zhou Qi, the news spokesman at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Locke feels honored to serve in this crucial position, and promises to work toward solving differences between the two countries, extending cooperation, and ensuring more collaboration. At the swearing-in ceremony, he remarked, “I fully intend to support our ongoing bilateral and cooperative efforts on a host of critical international issues from climate change to the search for new, cleaner sources of energy, to stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons and materials, and to promote new areas of collaboration.”

Locke is now studying Chinese, wishing to use his language to engage with the Chinese government.

For further information on Ambassador Gary Locke, please see the following news sources and commentary:

Department of State — “Remarks at Swearing-In Ceremony for Ambassador to China Gary Locke”

China Daily (USA) “Locke Sworn in as Ambassador”

Washington Post“Clinton Swears in Gary Locke as New U.S. Envoy to China, First Chinese American to Hold Post”

Xinhua“Gary Locke Sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to China”

For Chinese commentary on Ambassador Gary Locke, please see the following news sources:

China Daily“骆家辉宣誓就任美驻华大使 将致力深化中美合作”

Compiled and edited by Jingyi Zhao and Betsy Gass.