Crowd in San Leandro protests flying Chinese flag over city hall

A proposal to raise China's national flag over San Leandro City Hall brought out a crowd of protesters Monday night.
March 17, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
A proposal to raise China's national flag over San Leandro City Hall brought out a crowd of protesters Monday night. One council member thought it would help improve relations, but what it actually did was create controversy and change.

After listening to stories of persecution and torture under the Chinese Government, the council voted to handle these decisions on a case-by-case basis. So any time there's a proposal to raise the flag of another nation over City Hall, the council will have to listen to the community and then take a vote.

"I support my constituents. My constituents came up and made that request," said San Leandro Councilmember Benny Lee.

That's why Lee proposed flying the Chinese flag at City Hall on Oct. 1. It's China's national day when the country was founded. However, for many Tibetans, the flag represents the illegal occupation of their country.

"We don't want to live under Chinese brutal regime. We the people have no option but to sacrifice our body for the return of his holiness the Dalai Lama," said Tsering Choeoon Lama, a Tibetan protestor.

One woman we spoke to is a Chinese dissident and says she was strung up, electrocuted and her teeth knocked out all because she's a Falun Gong practitioner, a meditation group banned in China.

Another woman we spoke to was also a Falun Gong practitioner and says her husband has been jailed, and she's unable to return to her child without being persecuted. But Lee, who says his grandfather was killed by the communist government, believes flying the Chinese flag would be a step toward improved relations.

"When I visited China in 2007 I saw there are progressive changes and I do want to see more progressive changes in the future," said Lee.

In the end, the council decided on a mandatory vote any time there's a proposal to raise the flag of another nation over city hall.


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