Perhaps there have been other U.S. senators who spoke Chinese – even in the past, when a surprising number of people in public life were the children of western missionaries in China – but it’s good to see that our newest senator, replacing Hillary Clinton in New York State, is one, and a Chinese studies graduate from Dartmouth as well as an accomplished lawyer. Kirsten Gillibrand became a familar name in our household during last year’s campaign because her New York district borders our part of Massachusetts (the television ads on both sides of that race got old fast). I’ve only just learned about that she has knowledge of China to bring to her new job. This couldn’t be better timed, given the discussion of China’s role in the global economy right now.