New York Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, is showing off her Chinese language skills. The Democrat who announced her run for the 2020 presidency is making the rounds trying to capture as much of her party as she can. She joins a crowded field of Democratic nominees including Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang to try and win the primary. As of right now, there are at least 14 Democrats hoping to win the presidency. As the Asian voting block is growing and becoming formidable, it seems wise to reach out to Chinese citizens and get their backing. And what better way to win the hearts of Chinese democrats than to speak their language. And that’s what Gillibrand did when she responded to a Voice of America News reporter.
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— Esha Kaur Sarai (@egkaur) April 6, 2019
Who knew that Kirsten Gillibrand’s Chinese name is “Lu Tian Na.” And the way she enunciates, pretty pretty good. So how did she get to speak so fluently in Mandarin? According to The Hill, Kirsten Gillibrand majored in Asian studies at Dartmouth University. During this time she studied abroad in Taiwan and China to become somewhat fluent in Mandarin. After college, she spent four months in Hong Kong as a corporate lawyer.
This isn’t the first time Kirsten Gillibrand flexed her Chinese pedigree. Back in 2009, she impressed Chinese folks when she greeted them in Mandarin at a Lunar New Year parade in Chinatown, according to The New York Times.
It’s no secret that politicians need to reach out to as many demographics as possible so kudos to her. And she seems to have won over the Chinese democrats. Truth is, it’s really not that hard to win over Asians. If you’re a non-Asian, just pick up some sentences in whatever Asian block you need a vote for and they’ll swoon over you.
Yan Tai, who works for The World Journal, told the New York Times, “She definitely understood what I was saying, and she had good pronunciation. Actually, I was very impressed.”
But what does she have to say about the love-hate relationship between China and the United States? She told the New York Times, “Our relationship with China is extraordinarily complicated, and when you do understand the culture better, having that appreciation means you can hopefully find compromises.”
But whatever Chinese Kirsten Gillibrand did know at one point, she says she lost most of it now. Still impressive though. However, if she decides she needs a refresher, here is a Chinese language instructor to help her out.