The editorial, titled "Farewell, Gary Locke," took direct aim at Locke's identity as a third-generation Chinese-American, calling him a "banana" — a racial term for Asians identifying with Western values despite their skin color.
"But when a banana sits out for long, its yellow peels will always rot, not only revealing its white core but also turning into the stomach-churning color of black."
In his 2½ years in Beijing, Locke was instrumental in defusing tensions when the persecuted blind activist Chen Guangcheng sought shelter in the U.S. embassy. The Chinese public also credit Locke with raising awareness of the harm of the tiny pollutant PM2.5 and the severity of China's foul air by posting the embassy's hourly readings of air quality.
Wang Ping, the author of editorial, slammed Locke's portrayal as a someone judicious with public funds-- criticizing him as hypocritical, because he lived in a multimillion-dollar official residence and used a bullet-proof luxury vehicle, which is used by most U.S. ambassadors. Wang belittled Locke's inability to speak his ancestral language and accused him of failing to understand China's law but fanning "evil winds" in the ethnically sensitive regions of Tibet and Xinjiang. He also compared Locke to a dog and implied that civil rights activist Guangcheng was lying about being blind:
"Not only did [Locke] run around by himself, he even served as a guide dog when he took in the so-called blind rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng and led him running."
The editorial made a malicious Chinese curse at Locke, suggesting Locke's Chinese ancestors would expel him from the family clan should they become aware of his actions. Wang also made the innuendo that Locke should be blamed for the smog that plagues the Chinese capital.
"When he arrived, so did Beijing's smog," Wang wrote. "With his departure, Beijing's sky suddenly turned blue. Let's bid goodbye to the smog, and let's bid goodbye to the plague. Farewell, Gary Locke."
"I think it shows the unfriendliness and impoliteness by the Chinese government toward Gary Locke, and it is without the manners and dignity of a major power," legal scholar Hao Jinsong said. "It is unfitting of China's status as a diplomatic power. As a Chinese, I am very angry and feel ashamed of it."
"This article by China News Service is the most shameless I have ever seen — not one of them but the most shameless," popular online commentator Yao Bo said. "Without him, we probably still would not have known what PM2.5 is, and how did he bring the smog? You have played the snake in the Farmer and the Viper."
Another commentator Fastop Liu, said the piece is ungraceful. "When you call him a plague, you become a national shame as you lack diplomatic etiquette, damage the manner of a great power, and lose the face of all Chinese," Liu wrote.