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Man who allegedly attacked China’s San Francisco consulate had fake guns, book on assassinations

Zhanyuan Yang, shown here in a photo from a City College of San Francisco ID card, was fatally shot after ramming his car into San Francisco’s Chinese consulate on Monday, police said. | Source: Courtesy Sergii Molchanov;The Standard

The man accused of crashing a car through the lobby of the Chinese consulate this week was described by his roommate as “very reserved” and had a cache of what appeared to be replica firearms at home along with a book about political assassinations.

Zhanyuan Yang, 31, was identified by authorities Thursday as the man who was shot and killed by police after ramming a blue sedan into the lobby of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on Monday.

A witness said the driver of the vehicle got out of the car and shouted, “Where is the CCP?”—an apparent reference to the Chinese Communist Party. Multiple sources told The Standard that a knife and crossbow were found at the scene.

Yang lived in an apartment in the Inner Sunset, which The Standard was given access to Thursday morning. A woman who lived with him, who declined to give her name, said that to her knowledge, police had not visited the home.

A San Francisco Police Department spokesperson declined to comment on whether officers had searched the apartment citing an ongoing investigation.

Zhanyuan Yang lived at this apartment building in San Francisco. | Source: Jonah Lamb/The Standard

Yang’s room was in disarray. There were five handguns in the room as well as a pile of assault weapons and a knife in one corner. At least five of the guns were clearly marked as replica firearms.

There was also a large drone in the room.

The room had Chinese-language books on subjects such as chemistry, religion, filmmaking and science fiction, as well as English-language books such as the Bible and a work by Mao Zedong.

Postcards pinned to the wall showed he had lived at the apartment since at least 2016.

‘If He Became Radicalized, It Was Recent’

Files in the room indicated that he was from Shandong Province. A diploma showed that he graduated from Xingtan College of Qufu Normal University in China in 2014 with a major in environmental sciences.

He also had a big whiteboard with a hand-drawn map of East and Southeast Asia, with the Chinese words 解放思想(Liberating the mind and thoughts) and 实事求是(Seek truth from facts), a communist party slogan by former leader Deng Xiaoping in the 1970s.

In the living room, Yang’s keys and wallet sat on a bookshelf atop a book about political assassinations titled, “Political Murder – From Tyrannicide to Terrorism.” A bow and arrow was mounted on the wall.

Yang’s roommate could not explain why he would ram a car into the Chinese consulate. She said she had lived with him for about three years, but did not know him well as he mostly kept to himself and played video games. She described him as “very reserved.”

“If he became radicalized, it was recent,” she said.

Two portraits of Zhanyuan Yang obtained by The Standard. | Source: The Standard

His roommate said he had started acting oddly in recent months. He started eating her food, which he had not done previously, and drank all of her alcohol. Before that, he had not been a drinker, she said.

The roommate said Yang at one point studied at the Academy of Art University. An ID card in his wallet showed that he also attended City College of San Francisco.

The roommate said Yang did not appear to have a job and that she did not know how he was able to stay in the country legally. The Standard has reached out to the consulate about his citizenship status.

Yang had a few friends who visited infrequently, the roommate said.

As for relatives, she said she believes most live in China other than a cousin in Santa Clara County that he visited occasionally.

She said he spent his time running, shooting his bow and arrow at a park and flying his drone.

The roommate said that the car Yang crashed into the consulate did not belong to him, but to a third person who lived in the unit. The Standard has not been able to contact that third roommate.

The Standard’s Matthew Kupfer contributed to this report.

Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at
Han Li can be reached at