BLOG: Ambassador Locke amused by rumors

By Assunta Ng

From left, Mona and Gary Locke, Lily and Fred Shiosaki, and Michael Shiosaki (Photo by George Liu/NWAW)

The Chinese media have been stirring up all kinds of rumors since U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke announced his resignation. First they claimed that he resigned because of an affair, then they said he had liver illness. One Taiwanese newspaper even printed a story of his liver transplant on the front page.

Well, people in Asia who have no interaction with Locke or his family enjoy reading them. I wonder why they don’t ever ask the question, “Is this true?” Have the media outlets checked the facts or simply reprinted what other media have done?

Locke was in Seattle for the holiday. He left for China on Jan. 7, after he presided over the swearing-in ceremony for Mayor Ed Murray.

A couple of Chinese media were present. They saw for themselves how alive and well Locke is. But will they write about Locke appearing well and healthy? His voice was crystal clear during the ceremony. He was walking around with no help. And he chatted with the media. A Seahawks fan, he’d been to the recent game in December.

He is aware of the rumors, even though he doesn’t read Chinese.

“I am angry [by the rumors],” he said.

“Chinese media said you had a liver transplant?” I asked.

“He was featured in Men’s Health Magazine in China,” his wife Mona said, implying that if he were sick, the magazine wouldn’t have profiled him.

Locke said he had informed the Obama Administration in April that he was going to step down and it wasn’t a sudden thing. “Everyone knew about it,” he added.

The Lockes want their children to go to high school and college in the States. Mona and their three children returned to Seattle last summer, and two of them are going to high school in Seattle.

Locke said he would continue his China ambassadorship until the end of February. (end)

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