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Ambassador Gary Locke in Shanghai

March 20, 2012
Ambassador Gary Locke

Shanghai hosted China Ambassador Gary Locke for a public talk and discussion recently, and we were pleased to be among the China Fulbright Lecturers invited to join the audience to hear his comments at the Four Seasons Hotel in Shanghai.  We were in excellent Chinese and American company, as more than 50 students from the admirable-and-just-around-the-block from us Johns Hopkins/Nanjing University Center for  Chinese and American Studies were in attendance along with the press corps, business people of all kinds, and contingents from the Chinese and American consulates.  NB: Without the strong Euro-American presence at the Hopkins Center, there likely would be no Skyways/Nanjing German/Chinese Bakery with righteous German bread and other laowai soul food, and so to them we Nanjingers can be grateful for keeping us stoked with some familiar foods to go along with our education in the many local Chinese delicacies.

A Chinese-American attorney born in the U.S., Locke is a Yale graduate, former governor of Washington State, most recently the U.S. Commerce Secretary, and now as China ambassador a rising star in the Obama administration.  Locke, who took over from outgoing ambassador and sometime Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, has apparently been impressing many Chinese with his low-key diplomatic style.  For example, soon after his appointment as ambassador, more than half a year ago, Internet photos of Locke at a Chinese airport wheeling his own suitcase and ordering his own cup of coffee struck many here in China as a remarkable thing for a notable political figure to have done, what with his eschewal of the standard ambassadorial pomp, circumstance, and entourage.  I’d wager that the average American doesn’t know much about Gary Locke, but for my students and colleagues here in China, he’s a household name and already an iconic figure.  And I was similarly impressed with his gravity and intelligence at the Shanghai event.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2012 12:52 pm

    Actually, the bakeries probably predate the Hopkins Center as you can find them all over town. My understanding is that the Shanghaienese (sic?) developed a sweet tooth during the peak of the Consession era. As a result, you can find good bread and bakeries pretty much everywhere in the city – much to the delight of our boys (who grew to detest read bean paste filling during our time in Hong Kong). Our local Carrefore, for example, sells excellent loaves of bread (the kind that retail in the U.S. for $4+) for under 10RMB. Regardless of the source, I am often grateful for the fact that I can get good, cheap bread and pastries with chocolate instead of bean paste here in Shanghai. Sorry we missed you both – hope you had fun here!

    • Jim Ryan permalink*
      March 26, 2012 3:13 pm

      We had a great time in Shanghai, and we’ll try to catch you folks on the next trip through town.

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