China Mocks San Fran, Says It’s Willing to Clean Up Streets Only for Foreigners – Not ‘for the Sake of Its Own People’

Craig Bannister | November 16, 2023
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China’s state-controlled media are mocking how San Francisco’s drug, filth and homeless problems “miraculously disappeared overnight” ahead of this week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the city.

The clean-up shows San Francisco can – but, won’t – address the city’s problems for the sake of its citizens, China’s Global Times reports:

“San Francisco's clean street and the disappearance of homeless people demonstrate the city has the ability to address the malaise but only seems willing to do so when an international summit is approaching rather than for the sake of its own people.”


“[T]he real concern for San Francisco residents is why the government can solve century-old problems that have plagued the city for the president but cannot solve these problems for ordinary people.”

The Global Times also posted before-and-after photos of a street in the city first published by The San Francisco Standard. The photos were also widely circulated by China’s largest government-controlled social media outlet, Weibo.

“There’s a lot of money coming into this conference, and none of that is being set aside for unhoused people who are being displaced,” Coalition on Homelessness Executive Director Jennifer Friedenbach says in the article. “They’re just moving people around.”

Reporters from the Czech Republic didn’t have the same protection from the reality of San Francisco’s dangers, however. Over the weekend, the city’s façade was exposed when a Czech film crew was robbed of equipment and footage worth more than $18,000.

What’s more, the robbery wasn’t an isolated incident in San Francisco, as local television crews have reportedly resorted to traveling with armed guards.

At a press event, Democrat California Governor Gavin Newsom acknowledged the pretense of San Francisco’s clean-up effort:

“I know folks say ‘Oh, they’re only cleaning up this place because all those fancy leaders are coming into town.’

“That’s true, because it’s true.”