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United States Ambassador to China Gary Locke already has a reputation in China for being frugal, compared with local officials. He made news again during the Boao Forum last week.
The annual meeting of political, business and academic elites took place at the southern resort island of Hainan. But when most of the Chinese officials stayed at the designated luxury hotel, Sofitel, Locke stayed at a cheaper four-star hotel.
According to the Chinese reporter who broke the news, it's because Sofitel's rate was outside the budgeted allowance for the Ambassador.
Locke's choice of hotel was met with approval by Chinese netizens.
This one says: "Gary Locke not staying at a five star hotel shows his restraint in spending, it's not like many Chinese officials who take a full entourage with them wherever they go."
Democracy activist Eng Guang says it highlights the difference between Chinese and American officials.
[Eng Guang, Democracy Activist]:
"For the US government, they're more accountable, at least compared to dictatorship systems where officials are free to allocate and spend funds on themselves. The US is guided by laws which are enforced, unlike the Chinese government which lacks the power of law enforcement."
Corruption among Chinese officials is a main source of discontent in China. Locke, who's ethnically Chinese, has garnered interest from the public.
Locke made news in China the moment he began his post to the country. His family flew economy class to China, and pictures of them purchasing coffee at the airport and carrying their own luggage became widely discussed.