|Chinese Culture Does Deserve Celebration|
Published: Friday, 11 October 2013 03:12
The Alameda Sister City Association (ASCA) was a spin-off from the Social Services Human Relations Board (SSHRB). It was established as a way of implementing the program that President Dwight D. Eisenhower initiated in 1956. Its aim is to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation.
Currently, Alameda's sister cities are Lidingo, Sweden; Arita, Japan; and Wuxi, China. Wuxi is the latest addition to our list of sister cities and we look forward to establishing more sister-city relationships with other countries in the future to further promote cultural exchange.
I believe that the sister-city program is a great way for our citizens to gain first-hand knowledge and experience of other cultures. A few months ago, a group of middleschool students from Wuxi visited Alameda through our sister-city program. It's about getting to know people from different countries at a personal level, without politics. It's about recognizing and celebrating diversity that would, hopefully, pave the way towards greater understanding and cooperation.
The China National Day ceremony had been held twice in front of Alameda City Hall in the past without any incident. Both occasions were attended by hundreds of Alamedans in a festive and harmonious manner. The flag-raising portion of the event is purely ceremonial and does not involve the use of the flag poles at our City Hall. The flags of the United States, the state of California, and the city of Alameda are not lowered nor replaced during the event.
What had been done in the past, and what was planned for this year's event, was to bring in two similar poles, which are about 10 feet tall, and use these to raise the flags of the United States and China during the ceremony. Then both flags are taken down after the event. Under no circumstances will I suggest or even entertain the notion of having the flag of our country, state or city be replaced by the flag of China or of any other foreign country in any of our city property.
I joined the event on Oct. 1 to celebrate Chinese culture and the people of China in the same manner that I attended the Philippine Independence Day celebration that was held in June; and, in a week, I will also be attending the 102nd anniversary of the independence of the Republic of China, better known as Taiwan. I think that we need to look beyond politics to recognize and honor the heritage of the different people that make up our country.
Stewart Chen is an Alameda City Councilman.