By Assunta Ng
Three important leaders were in Seattle recently. I saw two of them. Ironically, the one that I didn’t meet was the one the Northwest Asian Weekly wrote the most about.
Edwin Lee, mayor-elect of San Francisco, attended a family reunion on Mercer Island on Dec. 3. Born and raised in Seattle, he has four siblings here, two sisters and two brothers. The whole family will join Lee in San Francisco for his swearing-in as the new mayor on Jan. 8.
We have done a separate interview with Lee. You can read his story next week in the Northwest Asian Weekly.
Prof. Yu Keping, of Beijing University and a Harvard fellow, is known as the think-tank for Chinese President Hu Jintao. He was here on Nov. 28, speaking in the University District.
Prior to his visit, I received three e-mails from the organizer of the National Bureau of Asian Research, stating that the meeting was “off the record.”
So being among the 30 guests, I was expecting some high-level secrets from the professor.
Yu discussed China’s road to democracy. Although interesting stuff, this is no secret. Just Google his article, “Democracy is a good thing,” already circulated widely in both English and Chinese, and you’ll get the gist of what he talked about. The essay was published in the Beijing Daily News on Oct. 23, 2006. His speech didn’t reveal anything out of the ordinary. Since the essay was published, the topic has been discussed inside and outside of China.
Basically, Yu said democracy is a good thing, but it doesn’t solve all problems. China actually has its own model of democracy developed in its villages and as far back as the Qin dynasty. China should use its own existing model for political reforms, rather than copying the West, as the Western model might not apply to China’s situation.
I did ask Yu’s permission to write about his visit. He said yes.
Ambassador Claudia Fritsche is Liechtenstein’s ambassador to the U.S. I was one of 15 women who had lunch with her on Dec. 2 at the SeaStar Restaurant.
Liechtenstein? You might not even know how to pronounce it. I didn’t either, at first. I have visited Europe six times and was never aware of the existence of this tiny kingdom. Smallness has its own merits, though.
Perhaps it’s so small that big countries bypassed devouring it during the last 200 years.
Under a monarch, it has a German-speaking population of 36,000 located in a mountainous region — the Alps.
It is difficult for Fritsche to compete with big country ambassadors for attention. Fortunately, Fritsche, a feisty woman, always initiates calls to colleges, corporations, and high-level officials from all over the world. (end)