Chinese flags parading through the streets of San Francisco ahead of President Joe Biden’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping have sparked backlash, with videos circulating on social media showcasing the flags lining the city’s streets as Xi’s motorcade drives by. Critics, including commentators like Katie Daviscourt and Ian Miles Cheong, express disapproval, with Cheong sarcastically remarking, “San Francisco looks so much better with Chinese flags. Not a single American flag or homeless person in sight.”
The backdrop to this display is the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, where Biden and Xi have their first face-to-face meeting in a year. San Francisco city officials face criticism for seemingly cleaning up the city’s homeless problem for the visiting foreign leaders. Barricades and fencing have replaced areas once occupied by homeless encampments, leading to accusations that the city is presenting a polished image for the summit.
Oh look, San Francisco turned into China for President Xi’s arrival.
Finally revealing it’s true colors. pic.twitter.com/G3WvGfRKnx
— Katie Daviscourt 🇺🇸 (@KatieDaviscourt) November 15, 2023
California Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledges the cleanup during a press conference, stating, “it’s true” that San Francisco has been cleaned up for “those fancy leaders” attending APEC. Newsom defends the move, asserting that the city has been engaged in ongoing efforts to address homelessness.
Is this one of the "important issues" that the Governor of #California @GavinNewsom discussed with the #CCP during his visit to #China?
To prevent the public, who are preparing to protest during #XiJinping's visit, from getting close to Xi's motorcade, #SanFrancisco has erected… pic.twitter.com/1bv8OtWVde
— Inconvenient Truths by Jennifer Zeng 曾錚真言 (@jenniferzeng97) November 12, 2023
Xi Jinping’s visit to the U.S., his first since 2017, involves a meeting with Biden in the San Francisco Bay Area and participation in the APEC summit. The meeting is deemed crucial by U.S. officials for easing tensions between the two nations, described as having the world’s most dangerous rivalry. Demonstrations are anticipated both for and against Xi’s visit, reflecting the complex nature of U.S.-China relations.
As Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses APEC ministers, he emphasizes the U.S. commitment to a region where economies have the freedom to choose their own path, subtly echoing concerns about China’s behavior in the Indo-Pacific. Biden aims to improve U.S.-China relations and normalize communication channels, including military-to-military contacts, after a period of strained ties. The San Francisco meeting occurs amidst increasing geopolitical tensions, fragile supply chains, and a worsening climate crisis, as highlighted by U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.
Photo credit: Flickr
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