(San Leandro, CA) Over the objections of residents and human rights groups, the city will raise the flag of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1, a day that honors the formation of the sovereign state in 1949 by communist leader Mao Zedong.
The City Council voted 4-3 Monday to approve the request by Councilman Benny Lee, a Chinese-American who said he intended the move as a sign of support for the city’s growing Chinese population and a sign the city is open for Chinese business and investment. The approval — endorsed by Lee and fellow council members Ursula Reed, Diana Souza and Jim Prola — garnered applause, as well as boos and shouts of displeasure from a packed council chamber.
“Raising the flag gives us the opportunity to show the openness to the people of China, the business people of China, to show that we welcome that investment and we welcome the prosperity,” Lee said. Raising the flag also is a way “to acknowledge and accept the people of Asian ancestry, Chinese ancestry” in San Leandro, he said.