BLOG: What Locke doesn’t do — 5th and final part of the Gary Locke blog series

By Assunta Ng

After reading my blog, some Washingtonians sent me a recent photo of them and Ambassador Locke. It was purely a coincidence that Locke ran into the group. Small world, right? From left: Nicole Robinson from Yakima, Yen Duong from Seattle, Brian Wong from Shoreline, and Locke (Photo by Yen Duong)

So you want to help your relatives and friends from China come to the United States. You think Ambassador Gary Locke can help you? 

No go!

During his training as ambassador, the first thing the state department taught him was that he was not to get involved in visas at all. If you send him personal letters about helping your Chinese friends and relatives move to the United States, he probably won’t get to read them. Visa applications go through the consulate, not the ambassador.

Can Locke change the finger-printing rules for high-level Chinese officials who want to come to America?

No.

Finger-printing has been a requirement for all foreigners since 9/11. Some U.S. officials told me that it’s annoying to many Chinese officials.

You have to realize that Locke doesn’t make the rules. He doesn’t have the power to exempt anyone. And if he tries to, he will be in deep trouble.

So your U.S. business is opening a branch in China and you would like to invite Locke to come to the ribbon cutting. Think twice. You can send him your request, but your request will be denied. Why? Unless your business is as big as Boeing and has a significant impact on the economies in both the United States and China, it is not worth his time.

Also, if he goes to one and not the other, he might be accused of favoritism. Anything he does and anywhere he goes has to be examined carefully by aides to ensure that it won’t haunt him later.

It’s been barely four months that Locke has been in office, yet stories about him have exploded all over the Internet in China.

Just type his Chinese name into a search engine and you’ll see that his every move is being watched. Some people even make up stuff about him. Recently, one reader brought a controversial letter written by Locke, in Chinese, to the Northwest Asian Weekly’s office.

“Should we print it?” my staff asked. I was surprised that even my staff was fooled.

“That’s bogus!” I responded. That letter came to us through chains of e-mails, and it had been forwarded to me, too. I never even gave it a second thought, deleting it instantly.

Locke would not have written such a personal letter. Why should he waste his time on small and irrelevant issues?

Just because his name was on it doesn’t mean he wrote it.  You have to be skeptical when you read suspicious materials on the Internet. (end)

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