What is going down with Alameda City authorities, who have responded to a Tibet activist based in Paris France who contacted the Mayor’s Office to appeal against plans to raise China’s flag on October. According to the copy we also received, reproduced below, it appears that City Hall is trying to distance itself from the controversy which has naturally arisen since reports of this troubling proposal emerged. Here’s what the City’s Assistant City Manager, Mr Alexander Nguyen today emailed:
‘Please be informed that the City of Alameda, California, has not, does not, and will not raise a foreign national flag on City Hall’s flagstaff.
The flag-raising ceremony scheduled next week is sponsored by our local Sister City Association and the Alameda Wuxi Friendship Committee, who use their own portable flagpoles.
This event is not a formal City Hall event; the Mayor and City Council do not sponsor it; they do not vote on it; they do not fund it.’
Well that’s interesting,after all it was only the previous Mayor of Alameda who in 2007 authorized and launched the plan to fly China’s flag to honor the founding of Communist China on October 1, a decision that was issued as a Proclamation and no doubt was supported by Council members of City Hall. Clearly the event is linked with the city’s authorities and was a project initiated by its former leader. Kinda curious then that Alexander’s alleged comments appear to imply the event has nothing to do with City Hall.Yet there’s a formal Memorandum Of Understanding between Alemeda and its ‘sister’ city of Wuxi and the idea of displaying China’s flag was designed to support and encourage that alliance. Hmmmm!
Encouraging to note the assertion that China’s flag will not seemingly be raised on the city’s flagstaff, however where will the event be held,surely not on City Hall land as that would endorse proceedings and undermine claims that the planned is not formally sponsored or funded by either the Mayor or City Hall.Will Mayor Gilmore put people’s minds at rest by issuing an assurance that China’s flag will not be raised, displayed or located on any land or building belonging to, or rented by, the City authorities? Can the Mayor also confirm that the planned location will not allow for China’s flag to be photographed with City Hall in the background?
It would, given the very serious issues of human rights which naturally arise when thinking of China, that Mayor Gilmore issue a statement to clarify that neither her office, City Hall or Council members support the raising of China’s flag, an action which is political endorsement of China’s regime. While it is a welcome development to note a communication from the office of the Assistant City Manager, in light of the concern and opposition being expressed surely Mayor Gilmore will see the need for an official comment that reveals a commitment from her office and colleagues at City Hall to human rights and democratic freedoms, which China so violently denies to its own people. That could be most simply yet forcefully detailed by declaring that the Mayor of Alameda and City Council do not endorse or support the displaying of China’s flag on October 1st. There is only one honorable and ethical direction, many in Alameda and beyond are hoping that will be followed.