Even though has Chinese ancestry and a Chinese face, he is in China to represent America, said Gary Locke, U.S. Ambassador to China, during an online communication with Chinese netizens at the Qiangguo Forum, People’s Daily Online, on the afternoon of April 13, 2012.
People’s Daily Online: Many people made the comparison between you and your predecessor Ambassador Huntsman. Their conclusion is that Ambassador Huntsman is Westerner but he speaks Chinese well while you have a Chinese face but don’t speak Chinese that well. What do you think is the biggest difference between you and Ambassador Huntsman?
Locke: Obviously, we are different individuals. Again, I’m so proud of my Chinese ancestry and I’m greatly proud of many contributions China has made to the world civilization of thousands and thousands of years. I’m very proud of the Chinese cultures and values of taking care of each other, emphasizing family, working hard and also the emphasis on the education. I grew up in a Chinese household. My parents were both born in China and went to the United States at a very young age. But I was born and raised in America. I am here as the representative of the president of the United States President Obama and American people.
I know that Ambassador Huntsman could speak Chinese, fluently. But when people saw Ambassador Huntsman, because he was Caucasian, they knew that he was clearly a representative of the Untied States government even though he spoke Chinese. I think that, in some ways, it is good that I don’t speak mandarin. I grew up learning Cantonese and Taishanese. And in some ways, perhaps it’s good that I don’t speak mandarin that well. I’m trying to learn. Otherwise I think Chinese people would say because I have a Chinese face and I should be really representing the views of China. I’m an American and I represent the American people and American government. So I think when they then see or hear that I don’t really speak mandarin fluently, they then understand that I’m not here to present China, but really here to represent America.