WA China Watch Digest Special!

News: Gary Locke tells China about Trump and U.S.-China relations, EB-5 immigration, and real reason he resigned as ambassador to China

Gary Locke on CNTV, March 10, 2017 Source: NetEase sreenshot.By Wen Liu   Mar. 28, 2017

Just as watching the China Relations Council, watching Gary Locke is also a big part of China watching in Washington. Operating now as the Locke Global Strategies, LLC., Locke has got a lot of coverage in recent months in the Chinese media.

On March 26, Locke, also our former governor, gave an interview to People’s Daily. On the “one China” policy, Locke said that no matter it was Democrat or Republican, each American administration had adhered to that policy, and that President Trump’s call to Xi Jinping, reiterating it, was encouraging news. On possible trade war, Locke pointed out that U.S.-China trade still had a lot of potential, that the two sides should avoid a trade war, as no one would be able to win it. The U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, (started under President Bush and upgraded under President Obama), should continue, he said. To further develop U.S.-China relations, Locke suggested more exchanges, and more face-to-face exchanges.

In early March, during China’s annual “Two Meetings,” of the People’s Congress and the People’s Consultative Conference, Locke talked to China’s CNTV. He agreed, he said, with China’s principle of “no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation” and believed that cooperation, not confrontation, was the basis of U.S.-China relations from President Carter on down. Asked what he would say about U.S.-China relations if he had met President Trump, Locke said first, he would say, U.S.-China relations were the most important bilateral relations in the world, and second, he would say that President Trump would need to spend a lot of time with Chinese leaders to learn about them.

Gary Locke, however, does not talk only big topics of U.S.-China relations or only in the U.S., he has also traveled to China and talked more specific issues such as American immigration and education.

That was last December, as NetEase reported, when Locke attended in Shanghai the 2016 Overseas Investment Forum organized by Wailian Overseas & Consulting. As the host company’s honorary advisor, Locke gave the keynote speech on “The constants and changes in U.S.-China relations in the era of Trump.” That was before the Trump-Xi phone call.

It was, however, what Locke told the audience about the EB-5 immigrant investment, American high school education, and the real reason he resigned the ambassadorship that got perhaps more attention.

Gary Locke in Shanghai, December, 2016. Source: Jiemian screenshot.On the very popular EB-5 program, according to Sina, Locke told them that when the current program expired, U.S. Congress would review and pass new rules, which would greatly raise the minimum required to obtain a U.S. immigrant investor visa, but also protect investors’ rights. On EB-5 projects, Locke warned, according to Jiemian, that not all of them were good projects as there had been fraud. The Chinese investors, he said, should do their homework and know what they really wanted: return on investment or permanent American residence. Compared with other forms of investment, financial benefits from EB-5 were very small. However, good EB-5 projects could give investors permanent residence in the U.S., as he was quoted by Jiemian, let them enjoy American welfare and their children enjoy free and high-quality public school education, with no restrictions in college application and no worries over H1B work visa after graduation.

It was then, Locke revealed why exactly he decided to leave Beijing. Explaining how 12th grade as the last year in high school was when students begin their college application, Locke said his daughter had to return to the U.S. early, not just for 12 grade, giving little time for her teachers to know her or write good recommendations for her, and then added, “We would never be apart as a family and have my daughter return alone to the U.S. to go to school. That was the reason I did not continue to be the ambassador.”

Knowing that many Chinese parents were planning on sending their children to American high schools and continue onto college, Locke advised that the latest to start would be 11th grade. Starting in 12th grade, he said, it would be very difficult to get accepted into colleges of their choice.

One can tell that advice from Gary Locke is not just that from a former U.S. ambassador to China on U.S.-China relations, but also from a father with an immigrant grandfather from China on family and education.

(For more information on major events in Washington state-China relations, go to WA China Chronicle.)