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Photo of US China ambassador carrying own bag goes viral

An innocuous photograph of Gary Locke, the new US ambassador to China, carrying his own backpack and ordering his own coffee at an airport has charmed Chinese citizens not used to such frugality from their officials.

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ZhaoHui Tang, a businessman from Bellevue, Washington, took the photo Friday on his iPhone when he spotted Mr Locke at the counter of an airport Starbucks. Mr Locke is the first Chinese-American ambassador to China and a former governor of Washington state.

Mr Tang uploaded the photo to the Chinese social media network Sina Weibo because he wanted to point out that he ran into the new ambassador at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

His response however generated 40,000 reports and thousands of comments.

“This is something unbelievable in China,” said Mr Tang, a Chinese-American citizen. “Even for low-ranking officials, we don’t do things for ourselves. Someone goes to buy the coffee for them. Someone carries their bags for them.”

Mr Locke tried to use a coupon or voucher for the coffee, but the barista rejected it, Mr Tang said. The ambassador then paid with a credit card, he said.

Filed in: World News

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