IN late February, US President Barrack Obama nominated Gary Locke as the US secretary of commerce.
The nomination has caused a stir in China.
The reasons are simple: first, the US and China are two of the world's biggest economies.
In recent years they have enjoyed close trade relations.
Now, with the global economic crisis, the Chinese are anxious to know who will be filling such an important management role in America's trade efforts.
Then there's an even more obvious reason: the 59-year-old Gary Locke (Luo Jiahui) is a third-generation Chinese-American.
He served two terms, between 1997 and 2005, as governor of the state of Washington.
Along with Locke, Steven Chu (Zhu Diwen), the 1997 Nobel Prize-winning physicist was named secretary of energy.
The two men are the most well-known Chinese-Americans among Chinese people.
Many Chinese are wondering whether the men's family and cultural backgrounds will affect US policies toward China.
Among the most asked questions are: "will they be 'nicer' to China?" and "does their appointment mean that Obama will prioritize China relations?"
The attention Locke and Chu have received in China reminds one of Elaine Chao (Zhao Xiaolan).
Chao was the Bush administration's Labor Secretary from 2001 to earlier this year.
Chao's job, however, had less to do with China, yet she was as equally well-known among the Chinese.
That, of course, was due to her family background. Her family moved from Taiwan to the US when she was eight.
Chao, Chu and Locke represent many firsts and unusual honors for the 3.6 million Chinese-Americans.
People in the motherland are naturally proud of the achievements of these people who share their blood, skin color and family names.
Both Locke and Chu have had experience working with the Chinese.
This will probably help improve communication and understanding in the two countries' relations.
However, some experts say that it may not be realistic to expect Chu and Locke to be more "China-friendly" than others in the Obama administration.
They are, after all, American officials serving the American people.
Especially on matters of national interest, they will most likely not hesitate to play the hard line and put pressure on China.