Update 1:00 p.m. – City of Alameda Councilmember Stewart Chen responded, deflecting questions to former councilmember Frank Matarrese, the current president of the Alameda Sister City Association.
A Tibetan rights group has begun a social media campaign against City of Alameda officials over a five-year old proclamation honoring the 58th anniversary of “National Day for the People’s Republic of China.”
Tibet was absorbed into the People’s Republic of China in 1951. The Tibetan rights group, acting anonymously through a website called Tibettruth.com, explains that it is a “not-for-profit network of individuals who support justice, human rights and independence for the peoples of Tibet and East Turkestan.”
A representative for the group did not respond to a request to identify him or herself through e-mail.
The group has become exercised in recent weeks over a 2007 proclamation by then-Mayor Beverly Johnson, honoring October 1st, 2007, as an anniversary for National Day for the People’s Republic of China, and inviting Alameda residents to participate in a flag raising ceremony in Oakland honoring the occasion.
Tibettruth has apparently interpreted this old proclamation to mean that the City of Alameda plans to raise the Chinese flag at Alameda City Hall this coming Tuesday, October 1st.
The proclamation also referenced the City of Alameda’s sister city relationship with Wuxi, China, which was the product of efforts by Stewart Chen, who now sits on Alameda City Council, but initiated the relationship back in 2005 when he was on the Alameda Social Service Human Relations Board.
Stewart Chen had not responded by press time to an e-mail asking for comment on Tibettruth’s complaints that the City of Alameda is effectively endorsing China’s record on human rights, “and its ongoing repression of Tibetans,” through the sister city arrangement, and the proclamation.
City of Alameda Deputy City Manager Alex Nguyen confirmed that the city has no plans to fly a Chinese flag at city hall next week.
He did say, however, that there will be flag-raising ceremony recognizing National Day at City Hall “sponsored by our local Sister City Association and the Alameda Wuxi Friendship Committee, who use their own portable flagpoles.”
In return, Tibettruth noted that the City of Alameda Social Service Human Relations Board had an agenda item this week appointing a board member as that body’s representative to the Sister City Associaiton.