The meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Woodside Wednesday was a magnet for both supporters and protesters on a variety of different issues.
Although the exit leading to the high-level summit was blocked off for security reasons, the two presidents still had to drive by hundreds of demonstrators who arrived by the busload to deliver their message.
There were also dozens of officers in riot gear in case the protests got out of hand. There were several moments where tensions did boil over. At one point, a scuffle broke out between anti-communist demonstrators and people they thought were pro-Chinese government.
Demonstrators were there to voice their concerns on several issues. Many were shouting for Xi to step down while others waved Chinese flags.
“He really wants China to be ruled by democracy and rule of law, and not a dictatorship,” said one man, who declined to give his name, through a translator.
Others voiced support for Hong Kong and Taiwan, opposing what they called Xi’s opposing regime.
“Xi Jinping and the communist party, they teach the normal Chinese people in China to hate the U.S.A. and Western countries, but they send a lot of their children to the United States,” said Los Angeles resident Tony Zhao.
Another person there told NBC Bay Area that her husband spent a month in Chinese jail for speaking out against the government.
There were also groups of people in red hats who came by the busload to voice their support for the Chinese Communist Party. A few protesters shouted at these groups, and even claimed that the consulate paid the people in red hats to be there.
It’s a claim those groups refuted, who instead said they were there to support the summit.
“For us, the United States, to get along well with China means a lot for the world economy,” said Orange County resident George Guo. He later added, “They are the two biggest countries in the world. And if they can get along well, we can all get along well.”
The tension seemed to come in waves. Just as things began calming down in the afternoon, the two sides clashed again. This time police broke them up and separated both until the meeting ended.
It was a tense scene underlying just how critical this summit could be.
Source: NBC Bay Area