Protests that erupted across China over strict Covid lockdowns ignited some Bay Area Chinese residents to rally in front of the nation’s diplomatic outpost in San Francisco.
About 100 joined the Sunday vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate General on Laguna Street. Photos taken later in the protest show the building’s wall vandalized with graffiti, which was cleaned by Monday.
The event aimed to honor 10 people who died in a fire in Urumqi, a city in China’s Xinjiang Province. Many protesters in China blamed the country’s pandemic protocols for preventing the victims from escaping. Officials from the Chinese government have denied culpability.
Li Xiang, a Bay Area activist critical of China, co-organized the Sunday demonstration to support protesters demanding more democracy in China. Attendees of the San Francisco rally marched around the consulate in a show of solidarity.
Xiang said a masked protester tagged up the building, so onlookers couldn’t tell who the person was.
Officials from the Chinese consulate told The Standard that they “consistently and firmly” oppose illegal behaviors that damage the dignity and safety of a diplomatic institution.
The San Francisco Police Department said it received no reports about the incident.
The Chinese consulate in the city has long been a target of protests about China politics. In 2014, an arsonist poured and ignited gasoline at the entrance.
Protesters are gearing up for another rally Tuesday night at Portsmouth Square in Chinatown. Others are expected to crop up throughout the Bay Area, with two planned in Berkeley and San Jose as well.
Han Li can be reached at [email protected]