APEC 2023: San Francisco’s Chinatown Gears Up For Visit From Chinese President Xi Jinping

As the excitement builds for the APEC Summit in San Francisco, the city’s historic Chinatown is gearing up to welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping. The vibrant community, with roots stretching back over a century, is eagerly anticipating the global attention the summit will bring.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s last visit to San Francisco was an impressive 38 years ago when he was just 31. The city’s landscape and diplomatic dynamics have transformed significantly since that time. As anticipation builds for his return, this visit marks a historic occasion, offering a unique opportunity to witness the evolution of both San Francisco and the global stage, with the vibrant Chinatown eagerly awaiting the presence of the Chinese leader.

The Golden Gate, Fortune Cookies company, sits in the heart of Chinatown, a local institution crafting these symbolic treats for six decades. Owner Kevin Chan expressed his enthusiasm for President Xi’s visit, emphasizing the potential for collaboration and support for the local Chinese-American population.

Chan’s fortune cookies, meticulously handmade, serve as more than just sweet delights. They offer a unique experience, allowing customers to insert personalized messages or even diamond rings for a proposal—a testament to the bonds formed through shared experiences.

In an interview, Chan drew parallels between the art of crafting fortune cookies and the delicate nature of diplomatic ties. He emphasized the importance of direct communication between China and the United States, asserting that understanding each other is far more constructive than relying on assumptions.

“Guessing is dangerous,” Chan remarked, echoing that open dialogue is essential for fostering positive relationships between nations.

Reporter Zhao Yunfei highlighted the historical significance of San Francisco’s Chinatown, the oldest in North America. This community has been a living testament to the enduring people-to-people ties between China and the United States for generations.

Ding Lee, President of the Chinese Consolidation Benevolent Association, reflected on the rapid changes in perception and openness since the normalization of diplomatic relations in the 1970s. He explained that early Chinese immigrants were hesitant to venture beyond the safety of Chinatown due to discrimination. However, improved relations have led to increased personal exchanges, contributing to the growth of California’s substantial Chinese immigrant population.

Lee, representing the sentiments of many Chinese Americans, expressed the community’s desire for a strong and confident China. Simultaneously, they hope for positive relations between the United States and China—a win-win scenario that would benefit both nations.

As the leaders of the world’s two largest economies prepare to meet, San Francisco’s Chinatown takes center stage. With its rich history and diverse population, the community anticipates positive outcomes from the diplomatic discussions, embodying the spirit of unity and cooperation on the global stage.