Locke goes solo, causes Internet flurry

Aug 15, 2011

The U.S. Ambassador to China and former governor of Washington– Gary Locke – is causing a stir after a candid photo of him surfaced on the internet.  

You’d think the ambassador had joined the ranks of American political figures who email bare-chested photos of themselves a la Anthony Weiner. But instead the picture causing such a sensation in Chinese media is of Locke and his seven-year-old daughter in front of a Starbuck’s counter at Sea-Tac International Airport.

What’s so remarkable, at least to Chinese readers? There’s no entourage. And the Beijing Times exclaimed, "He’s carrying his own backpack.”

Greg Guldin, runs a cross-culture consulting firm and does a lot of business in China. He says this is highly unusual. He said:

"For someone as befits his status as Ambassador  from one of the world’s most powerful countries to another of the world’s most powerful countries is sort of, like, amazing or shocking. That given that high status, a global personage should be traveling just like a peon."

Chinese bloggers are calling the photo “shocking” and they say China could use more, humble, government official like Locke.

The picture was originally posted to a Chinese micro-blogging site and has been reposted nearly 40,000 times.