Kimberly P. Yow

Kimberly P. Yow

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San Francisco using fencing, barriers to secure APEC summit where Xi, Biden will meet

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San Francisco has erected barricades and fencing to secure the APEC summit where President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are scheduled to meet this week. 

Photos and videos show black metal fenced barricades erected outside the Moscone Center, where leaders from the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group will gather this week to talk about how to better spur trade and economic growth across the Pacific region. Biden and Xi will meet face to face on the sidelines of the San Francisco summit, hosted against a backdrop of icy relations between China and the United States and as wars rage in Israel against Hamas and in Ukraine against Russian invaders. 

The decision to erect the temporary barricades faced criticism on social media. 

The account End Wokeness, which has garnered 1.8 million followers on X, shared video of the black fence barricades lining the streets of downtown San Francisco.

“San Francisco’s homeless population was entirely cleared out for Xi Jinping,” the account wrote. “The government can easily fix our cities overnight. It just doesn’t want to.” 

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“U.S. taxpayers’ money is being used to protect the ‘safety’ of a communist dictator, suppressing the voices of the public living in America,” X user Inconvenient Truths by Jennifer Zeng, who shares information and insights about China and the Chinese Communist Party, wrote to her 244,300 followers. 

Noting California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent visit to Beijing, where he made a surprise visit with Xi, Zeng alleged the barricades were placed by the APEC center in advance to prevent the public from protesting or getting too close to the Chinese leader’s motorcade through San Francisco. 

Several reports say San Francisco officials have been stepping up efforts to clear homeless encampments, which have long plagued the city’s downtown, through dedicated outreach intervention focused on the vicinity of the conference. Open-air drug dealing and homelessness have long troubled business owners and residents across the city. 

However, with the conference in town, the city is only allowing homeless people normally living in the area deemed a security zone for APEC access to nearby shelters in an effort to get them off the street ahead of this week’s events. 

Some argued the decision to erect barricades to secure the APEC summit was hypocritical for Democratic-run San Francisco after Rep. Nancy Pelosi, R-Calif., and Newsom, the former mayor of the city, both criticized walls as immoral and unnecessary in the past regarding former President Trump’s initiative along the U.S.-Mexico border meant to deter illegal immigration, which has now become a divisive issue for the Biden administration.

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The account Asians Against Wokeness, which bills itself as a group of Asian-American activists organizing to fight woke culture, violent crime and leftist ideology, said of the San Francisco barricades, “Woke liberals fear/respect Xi Daddy more than their fellow Americans. Soft core authoritarians fear/respect hardcore authoritarians.” 

The White House announced Friday that Biden would meet with Xi on Wednesday. 

“The Leaders will discuss issues in the U.S.-PRC bilateral relationship, the continued importance of maintaining open lines of communication, and a range of regional and global issues,” the White House said. “Building on their last meeting in November 2022 in Bali, Indonesia, the Leaders will also discuss how the United States and the PRC can continue to responsibly manage competition and work together where our interests align, particularly on transnational challenges that affect the international community.” 

San Francisco Mayor London Breed boasted on X that APEC is “projected to bring over $50 million in economic impact to the City — this is support for our small businesses & restaurants, people staying in our hotels, and tax revenues that pay for things like our parks, libraries, services, and police officers throughout our city.” 

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