On Monday, Sept. 16, the San Leandro City Council passed the resolution to raise the flag of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1.
The consideration of request to raise the flag was scheduled at the end of the agenda, but Mayor Stephen Cassidy moved it up due to the amount of people that showed up regarding the issue.
Benny Lee, city council member, introduced this resolution to the San Leandro City Council because many similar resolutions are being introduced in San Francisco, Alameda and Oakland.
“San Leandro’s demographic has changed,” said Lee. “By raising the flag we are welcoming and showing our appreciation to the Chinese community and businesses in San Leandro.”
Fifteen people from all over the Bay Area spoke on why or why not they feel the flag should be raised in San Leandro. Most people that spoke were not in favor of the city passing this resolution — not all of them being Tibetan.
“If they decide to raise the flag, I would only see blood,” said Deky Tngchen, board member of the San Francisco Regional Youth Congress. “I would see all the pain the Chinese government put Tibetans and their own people through. I would be ashamed to be a U.S. citizen.”
A petition was even presented with signatures of people opposing the flag raising.
After hearing the 15 people’s opinions regarding the flag, Mayor Cassidy and the city council members all stated their reasoning for voting for or against the resolution.
“We are not honoring the Chinese government. We are honoring the Chinese people and their contributions to the San Leandro community,” said Jim Prola, vice mayor of San Leandro.
“To raise it [the flag of the People’s Republic of China] would be a symbol of recognizing a government that has a severe number of human rights violations,” said Mayor Cassidy.
In the end, the resolution was passed by a vote of 4-3.
Many Tibetans and other residents of the San Leandro community were in such shock of the final decision.
“They said they’re showing their appreciation to the Chinese community," said Tenzin Daden, a member of SF Team Tibetan. “How about the other ethnicities in San Leandro? I don’t see their flags being hoisted.”
Giovanni Vassalo, president of Bay Area Friends of Tibet, doesn’t look at this as a loss.
“We were able to raise awareness about the oppression caused by the Chinese government,” said Vassalo. “The truth will come out.”