CHINA TIMES (Taiwan)
BEIJING - The U.S. ambassador to Beijing, Gary Locke, has become a lightning rod for online debate in China about the ethics (and wealth) of political leaders -- both American and Chinese.
In contrast to the high-spending lifestyle of many top Chinese politicians, the 62-year-old ambassador has been known to purchase cups of coffee using coupons and fly in economy class. Both China's leaders and ordinary folk are trying to gauge the real meaning of such behavior, coming from a successful government representative who happens to be of Chinese descent himself.
On the Twitter-like networks of China's microblogs, not all are buying his public modesty, reports Taiwan's China Times newspaper. "This man lives in an ambassador's palace lined with servants. He travels in a bullet-proof limousine. Buying coffee with coupons is just for show. Let him be honest about his assets. Let him publish his wealth," seethed one digital commentator on the microblog platform of the official news outlet the Beijing Daily.
The former president of Google China, Li Kaifu, leapt to Locke's defense. "Yes his assets are published just like every other member of the Obama administration. He's worth four million dollars. Now how about asking China's leaders to publish their net worth." The Beijing Daily microblog feature did not allow such comments to be made on their site, though the discussion continued on Li Kaifu's blog.
Locke's profile was raised during a recent episode involving the Chinese human rights dissident, Chen Guangcheng, who found refuge in the American embassy briefly. A former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Locke has also served as governor of the state of Washington.
Read the full story in Chinese