Media Reports

Asian community rally supports end to violence

C.W. Nevius, Rachel Gordon

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The issue of African American violence against Asian residents continues to build momentum, and leaders in the Asian community are beginning to show political and media savvy. Tuesday night there was a rally in front of City Hall calling for an end to violence.

The rally created so much buzz that spokesman Chai-Chi Li says that some Chinatown shops closed early so workers could attend.

While organizers admit that the victims have been reluctant to report and express public outrage over incidents in the past, the community seems united now.

At Tuesday's rally, victims were encouraged to record their stories on video and write out the details on cards. Li says the hope is the notes and the videos will eventually be posted on a Web site.

Organizers say they want to end the problem of chronic under-reporting of crime and violent incidents, but they stress that they also have ideas to help.

"A lot of the kids who are perpetrators are not strangers to the community," Li said. "We know who they are, but they don't have the resources to provide services for them."

Li says his group has discovered a federal grant that provides funds for underserved communities.

"We are hoping to make this a positive," he said.

- C.W. Nevius

Go Gigantes! In its first test of whether to take a stance against Arizona for its tough new immigration law, the Board of Supervisors took a time out.

The board was set to vote on whether to extend a contract with Acumen Fiscal Agent, an Arizona company that provides payroll services for the city's Jobs Now program. The program uses federal stimulus funds to reimburse companies for the wages paid new workers who were recently jobless.

Instead, the board voted 8-3 to send the proposal back to committee to, in part, determine whether the city can handle the payroll work in-house.

While that issue is sorted out, everyone should continue getting their checks, assured City Controller Ben Rosenfield.

The debate over the Acumen contract came before the board was to consider a nonbinding resolution for the city to boycott businesses with Arizona headquarters. A vote was expected to be delayed a week. Supervisor Chris Daly threw a curveball into the Arizona issue when he called for a boycott of the Arizona Diamondbacks games home and away.

Daly also asked the Giants to wear their "Gigantes" uniforms during the home stand against the D-backs "to show our support for Latino baseball players and the Latino and immigrant communities."

- Rachel Gordon

Board highlights: The Board of Supervisors voted 9-2 Tuesday to support an amendment to the city's payroll tax exemption for biotechnology companies.

The tax break is supposed to help lure more employers to San Francisco. The payroll tax exemption, which is set to sunset in 2014, can be claimed by qualified companies for up to 7 1/2 years. Under current law, companies that applied for the exemption after 2007 would not be able to benefit from the full 7 1/2 years.

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier sponsored legislation to allow biotech firms to reap the full benefit if they apply by Aug. 12, 2014. The supervisors also mandated that participating employers adhere to the city's local hiring goals.

Joining Alioto-Pier in approving the legislation on the first of two required votes were Supervisors David Campos, David Chiu, Carmen Chu, Bevan Dufty, Sean Elsbernd, Eric Mar, Sophie Maxwell and Ross Mirkarimi. Opposed were Supervisors John Avalos and Chris Daly. A final vote is scheduled for next week.

In other action Tuesday, Chiu called on the board to reject the Municipal Transportation Agency's proposed budget, which includes a 10 percent service cut.

Chiu also introduced an ordinance seeking an "alternative or a complement" to the sit/lie ordinance backed by Mayor Gavin Newsom and Police Chief George Gascón that would make it a crime to sit or lie on public sidewalks.

Chiu wants to create a task force to study neighborhood-based community courts that would also provide social services.

Campos requested a hearing on the management audit of the Municipal Transportation Agency, which should be released soon.

And finally, Daly introduced a resolution calling the elections held by Burma's military regime "illegitimate."

- Rachel Gordon


[视频]旧金山华裔反暴力抗议 要求当局严惩凶犯

Dirty secret of black-on-Asian violence is out

C.W. Nevius

Sunday, May 2, 2010

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San Francisco's hidden truth is out. That's what community organizer Carol Mo calls the realization that Asian residents are being targeted for robberies, burglaries and intimidation by young black men.


"It is San Francisco's dirty little secret," said Mo, a former Safety Network Community organizer in the Sunset District. "It's not news to us."


Hundreds of people marched into Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting to express their fear, frustration and outrage. But so far the response has been disappointing, particularly from the San Francisco Police Department. It seems intent on downplaying the role of race and its impact in the community.


The recent incidents of black violence against Asians is the perfect opportunity to open a dialogue about racism. Instead, they are attempting to close the door.


City officials, including the Police Department, say these assaults are part of a larger crime picture where gangs of kids take advantage of a vulnerable group of small stature. But Mo participated in a 2008 survey by the Police Department in which about 300 strong-arm robberies were analyzed. "In 85 percent of the physical assault crimes, the victims were Asian and the perpetrators were African American," she said.


The squeamishness city officials are experiencing about confronting those numbers doesn't reflect well on anyone. No one is saying the entire African American community is violent. But ignoring the legitimate anger and frustration from Asians is disingenuous and unfair.


"We love San Francisco," said the Rev. Norman Fong, a Presbyterian minister. "And we don't want to do anything to divide the communities. But at the same time, our community is hurting and we feel like our voices are not being heard."


Now that the Asian community has found its voice, city leaders must listen and respond. What should be done? Here are a few suggestions


-- Understand the underlying conflict: This isn't just about stealing iPods. There's a deep divide between the two communities. Edward Chang, who lectures on civil unrest and race relations at UC Riverside, has studied the contentious history of Korean-African American relations in Los Angeles when Korean store owners moved into black neighborhoods.


"There was this sense of being invaded by someone else," Chang said. "There was a sense of needing to protect and defend their turf."


Another factor is the way the two cultures are perceived. Lee Mun Wah, a Berkeley-based documentary filmmaker and diversity trainer for large corporations, said there is resentment over how Asians are seen as "the favored minority."


"We are pitted against each other," Wah said. "African Americans sometimes say, 'We did all the work in civil rights, and they get all the benefits.' "


-- Create a dialogue: As Chang said, "In order to build trust, you must do things together." Wah suggests hiring black employees in Asian stores. Board of Supervisors President David Chiu is pushing a summer program to hire black and Asian youths to work together in community patrols.


-- Speak up: Chiu thinks the language barrier is a huge part of the reason Asian victims do no report crimes. He stresses the need for multilingual police officers.


But the Chinese community also needs to overcome its reticence to go to the police. They are only making themselves more vulnerable by being seen, as one officer put it, as "silent, vulnerable and unwilling to fight back."


-- Listen to Mrs. Cheng: The 52-year-old woman was attacked March 22 when a 15-year-old boy allegedly threw her off the Muni platform at Third Street and Oakdale Avenue. She was injured, but she says she doesn't want retribution.


"This is my simple request," she wrote in an e-mail with the help of an interpreter. "That we can all live safely in our own homes without being burglarized. I feel ashamed that this horrible bad luck has happened to me. I only hope that my bad luck will fend off future bad luck situations for other people."

And then she added one more thought.


"My neighbor is black," she said. "Though we can't communicate much, he is a good person and a good friend. He often jokes that he would teach me English and I Chinese to him."


That would be a great start - two people talking.


C.W. Nevius' column normally appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. E-mail him at


This article appeared on page C - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle


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Asian American attacks focus at City Hall

Thursday, April 29, 2010

On Tuesday, Mrs. Cheng came to City Hall for the first time in the 20 years she's lived in the city. She intended to speak to the Board of Supervisors through a translator, but she uttered just a few words before she began sobbing uncontrollably.

On March 22, Cheng was checking on her daughter who was late coming home on the bus. Standing on the Third and Oakdale Muni platform, she recalls being grabbed from behind, choked and thrown off the 5-foot-high metro stop and into the street.

The impact knocked her unconscious, shattered some of her teeth and left her lying in the path of a bus. The attacker was identified as a 15-year-old African American boy who was charged with robbery. But he threw her to the ground for no apparent reason.

Cheng was just one of the nearly 300 Asian Americans who showed up at City Hall to share story after story about being assaulted, robbed and intimidated. The two hours of testimony were tearful and angry. The need to share their stories was triggered by Cheng's experience; the January beating death of Huan Chen, 83, as he left a bus station at Third Street and Oakdale Avenue; and Tian Sheng Yu, who died after he was punched by an 18-year-old African American man in Oakland.

The stories highlighted what will be a difficult conversation. The speakers said they felt they were being targeted by African American teenage boys.

"I live in constant fear," Cheng wrote in her first interview, which was conducted over e-mail. "I am afraid to go out any more. I can't eat because I have no lower teeth. I have a big lump on the back of my head ... I walk with a limp and need help to move around. I am afraid I may lose my job. I came from China 20 years ago. I came because it offers its people freedom, freedom of speech, good education. How would I have imagined I would become a crime victim? I have lost confidence in America."

African Americans attacking Asians is a reality, said Young Kong, a local talk radio show host on a Chinese language station.

"This is a hate crime," he said. "The supervisors don't want to say it because they don't want to exacerbate the tension. They are too chicken, too politically correct."

Cheng says she has a long-term relationship with her neighbor, who is black, and the people who rushed to her aid were all African American. This isn't a race war. But something is happening here.

"Let's face it, if older black men were being killed by marauding groups of kids, we'd be going crazy," said Lynette Sweet, a lifelong resident of District 10 and candidate for supervisor there. "We in the black community have to take responsibility for our kids." The concern, however, is that the discussion is too polarizing.

No truly great city can allow this. It is time to take a break from debating boycotting Arizona for its immigration policy and look at our own streets.

"This is the immigrant's voice not being heard in a city of immigrants," said Yvonne Lee, a former police commissioner who helped translate for Cheng. "This is years of frustration and fear that has burned into anger."

Bayview police station Capt. Greg Suhr says the police are responding, including adding 32 officers to his station to make Muni safer. But he thinks the racial issue is clouding perceptions.

"We are seeing large kids or kids in large numbers taking advantage of people of smaller stature," Suhr said. We have Hispanics in the neighborhood who are targeted fairly frequently."

That may be, but Supervisor Carmen Chu said she's heard stories of Asians being pushed on the bus, or insulted or spit on.

"Some of the perceptions are based on reality and some on stereotypes," said Chu. "The reality is that they exist. This is something we need to talk about."

Sweet believes there's potential for resolution. She sees hope in the fact that when Cheng was injured, members of the black community quickly identified the attacker, who has admitted the crime.

"People in the Asian community need to vent, and we need to listen to them," Sweet said. "But I have found that after we give people that opportunity, it very often turns into a chance for the community to come together."

That would be great. Because right now the two sides couldn't be much further apart.

C.W. Nevius' column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. E-mail him at

This article appeared on page C - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle



On Jan. 24th 2010,  several youths attacked 83-year-old Huan Chen as he waited for a bus in the Bayview district to visit his wife in a convalescent home. Witnesses say the youths attacked him from behind, kicked and punched him, then fled laughing.

3月22日57岁华裔妇女在第3街与OakdaleAve车站候车时,被非裔青少年从后勒颈拉起,拖行后抛下月台的车轨上,其余 同党则上前用脚踢她。

On March 22, five African American teenage boys surrounded a 57-year-old woman on a Muni platform at Third Street and Oakdale Street at 7:30 p.m.
One of the youths grabbed the woman by the neck and threw her from the platform, police said. A 15-year-old boy is being held in that attack, which was recorded by a Muni camera. Police said the motive was robbery in the second attack, but that the woman, who is recovering, had little of value.

3月27日晚7时45分,39岁的华裔男子由旧金山市中心区搭乘T线公交车抵达第三街与 Williams街车站下车时,突然被同在车厢内的五至七名、14至 16岁的非裔少年包围。这批非裔少年没有企图抢走他身上的任何财物,双方也没有任何争执或语言往来,非裔少年狂殴受害人的眼睛和头部,直至将受害人打倒在 车厢地板上才逃走。

on March 27th 2010, a 29-year-old Chinese-American man who was attacked by several boys on a Muni train near Third Street and Williams Avenue;

4月16日 奥克兰,59岁的旧金山华裔俞天生及其子俞金成,16日下午3时零4分,在屋仑Telegraph街1800号街段遭一对非裔青少年毒打,父亲4月20日伤重不治

On April 16th 2010,  Yu, Tiansheng and his son, 27-year-old Jin Cheng Yu, were shopping and walking near the Fox Theater when they were attacked by two men for no apparent reason. Yu was hit in the face and fell to the sidewalk, injuring his head and passed away on April 20th 2010. The two suspects, Lavonte Drummer and Dominic Davis, both 18-year-old Oakland men,


on April 17, 2010 , a Muni bus driver, who is also Chinese-American, attacked and beaten by youths while driving in Visitation Valley on April 17.



4月26日凌晨12时56分,两名华裔受害人年龄分别为20及21岁,地点为华埠百思域街近都板街的路口。 陈保杰指出,两名华裔青年走在华埠街头时,突然有一名非裔男子走到两人前面,并以手枪指向两人,喝令两人交出身上财物。但两人并未听从非裔嫌犯的威胁,合力对非裔嫌犯拳打脚踢,非裔嫌犯遭受害人反抗后,随即开了一枪,但未击中两名受害人,嫌犯于是逃走,中央警察分局警员接到报告并赶到现场,在附近发现嫌犯将其逮捕。