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March 24, 2009

Flag of the People's Republic of China flying outside popular WC Main Street restaurant: What do you think?

A regular reader alerted me to the fact that OI-C Bowl, a restaurant specializing in fresh, “gourmet” Chinese food on North Main Street in Walnut Creek, displays a big, red People’s Republic of China flag hanging outside.


I’d love for the reader to explain his objections some more, because I don’t want to put words in his mouth.

It sounds like he wasn’t happy that a flag representing a government founded on Marxist, communist, and/or Maoist principles was flying so prominently in downtown Walnut Creek—and so close to City Hall.


The reader referred to it as a “communist China flag,” then said, “Yeah, I understand it’s Chinese food, but come on! How ‘bout an American flag next to it at least?”



What do you think? I know a flag with such strong associations with communism pushes some people's buttons. Even though communism as a political ideology is rather passé--not including occasional retro commie blasts from Nepal, where communists have made themselves the nation’s leading party, or from Peru, where the Maoist Shining Path guerrillas continue their sporadic terrorists attacks.


But isn’t communism—the kind we associate with Marx, Trotsky, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, or other 20th century utopian ideologues—so last century? Okay, sure the People’s Republic of China—better known as mainland China—is the most populous nation on earth (1.2 billion people), and it is ruled by the Communist Party of China under a single-party, authoritarian system.


But how “communist” is the Communist Party of China, or the People's Republic of China? Only about 5 percent of people in mainland China belong to the Party. Then there was the rule of Deng Xiaoping (de facto leader of China from 1978 to the early 1990s). He introduced a social and economic philosophy termed “socialism with Chinese characteristics” that merges a market economy with a socialist political system.

In terms of discussing contemporary Chinese political systems, I'll be the first to admit that I'm flying without a net, and it would be nice if some expert on modern China or communist theory weighed in. But, it it sounds to me like China is more capitalist than stereotypically communist. At the same time, I understand that China’s government, with its single-party system, is not as democratic as many of us would like.

Back to OI-C Bowl? Does any of this high-falutin' political economy/ideology stuff have any bearing on how we should react to the People’s Republic of China flag flying hanging outside this restaurant?

On a somewhat related topic, it is common to go into an Italian, French, or Mexican restaurant, and see the colors of those country’s flags, or the actual flags themselves, flying as part of the restaurant’s décor. I’m a big fan of Thai food. Any Thai restaurant worth its fish sauce will display photos of the Thai royal family, a display—like that of the Italian, French and Mexican flags—that is an exercise in nationalist pride. (And, yes, technically, Thailand enjoys democratic rule, so, by that measure, we Americans like Thailand. But how democratic is a country like Thailand that continues to be plagued by rampant vote buying, corruption, and regularly military-backed coups?)


And, compared with the Italian, French, and Mexican flags, is there something different about a display of Chinese flag--a bright red sheet with its five bright yellow stars--on WC’s popular North Main Street? In terms of color scheme and design, this flag is reminiscent of the red-and-yellow hammer-and-sickle flag of the Soviet Union. Of course, both the flags of the USSR and of the People’s Republic of China were and are controversial symbols of the communist ideology with which we Americans were so long at war. Cold War-wise, that is.


For many people, seeing this Chinese flag won’t provoke the same sentimental reaction they might get from seeing an Italian, French, or Mexican flag. Suburbanites of mainland Chinese origin might have a different reaction.
Also, you might have a more open and welcoming attitude towards the PRC, following the Beijing Olympics and in light of our complicated relationship with that country in the midst of the global economic crisis--with that country emerging as the United State's largest creditor.


Is China our new economic BFF on the world stage? Should we therefore show its red-and-gold-star flag some respect? Or is China our new big, bad superpower enemy, and should we treat that country, and its flag, with wariness?

86 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ate a wonderful dinner there tonight!

Since they own a tremendous amount of our national debt, I'd say they get to waive a few flags...it's the least we should do.

We are all very interconnected now, and need to get over these kinds of nationalistic and semantic differences.

Anonymous said...

Who cares about the flag they waive. It's their restaurant. And, if they are communist, it's their business. People who don't like it shouldn't patronize their establishment. As long as there is no ordinance that prevents flags from being flown in front of restaurants, I'm all good with it. Let these people pursue their happiness, please!!

Anonymous said...

The food there is over-rated. As for those who think anyone can hang anything they wish, well, what if it were a nazi flag? How about a confederate flag?

Anonymous said...

Does La Fogata have to paint over their Mexican Flag also?

This guy sounds like and insecure douchebag.

Anonymous said...

get rid of it. It is like spitting in america's face.

DumbAsBricks said...

Yes, you are right. There should be an American flag right next to it.

To only show the communist flag is an insult. I like OI-C, but will not go there until this is addressed.

Anonymous said...

DumbasBricks,

You sir are a dumbass douchebag. Grow a pair.

Anonymous said...

Soccer Mom,
Your blog is becoming more of an extremist rant or place to rant. Are you fueling this on purpose?

Thud said...

They will not be getting my custom but they can fly what they wish.

Anonymous said...

So what. Those complaining probably have a garage full of crap/junk/stuff made in China. So who is really supporting Communist China?????

Anonymous said...

nice story SM. GET RID OF THE UGLY FLAG!

Trina said...

That is the Flag of there country and NOBODY should complain or have any problems of them representing there home. It is rude and un-American. Is this not the land of the free?

Anonymous said...

Careful folks, your xenophobia is showing.

Anonymous said...

How dare anyone exercise their first amendment right to display a symbol to which some people might object? This is America, after all, where liberty means free speech only applies to statements that no one may object to.

Anonymous said...

March 24, 2009 10:47 PM

People and business do still fly the confederate flag in this country. Matter of fact a few states fly it over their capital.....so what's your point?

People would disagree with it like you disagree with this. Those that don't agree can not eat there and if the owner feels like it's harming their business they will take it down.

Anonymous said...

These type of racist remarks are what cause hatred towards white people. After the assination of Oscar Grant many minorities felt that it was a racially motivated murder and hatred grew towards the Oakland Police. Altough I do not condone the murder of the 4 officers, there are many people that find hapinness in this event...You people that are writing flamatory comments are the same as the people that are happy that the 4 officers were killed.

hello, mcfly? said...

do you also refuse to eat chinese food because you disagree with chinese communist politics?

this restaurant flying the chinese flag is a cultural statement, not a political one.

Anonymous said...

The owners are Chinese and whether they agree with the present regime or not it's their homeland. I appreciate this blog and the opportunity for discussion. Don't let the personal attacks discourage you.

Anonymous said...

America is a CONTINENT, get it straight! Ignorance is bliss!

Anonymous said...

are the china flag haters also target/kmart/walmart shoppers? they should take a look in the mirror. symbolic outrage doesn't disguise their consumer addiction to chinese products.

Anonymous said...

Wow - you First Amendment fighters could be helpful in the Anonymous blog of a couple days ago re the Sufism Sanctuary... same argument diff topic

Anonymous said...

Now, I can't wait to try this restaurant, being unfairly singled out by this blog and by all the racists and xenophobes on this blog and Claycord.

Anonymous said...

This reads like the paranoid 1950’s McCarthy communist witch-hunt’s looking for commies under every rock. A world flag signifies a COUNTRY, not a political party or ideology. This is the flag of China, not the communist party. Question: because a flag is hanging outside a business (close to City Hall) do we remove all other flags just because the political system is not to our liking?, or perhaps take it a step further and not allow foreign people or businesses because of their mother country. Granted the Republic of China is controlled by the communist party, but every day the country is becoming more Capitalistic. Today in 2009, one would have a hard time telling the difference between Shanghai rush hour traffic jams and Highway 24 jams, or shopping areas with designer clothes, or 1000’s of new China made Buicks and Audi’s hitting the road every month. The thought process of the blogger is off base and wrong.

hapamama said...

What annoys the crap out of me is that the restaurant name is an obvious play on a Japanese word (OI-C = oishii = delicious), but is a Chinese restaurant.

They can use their own language to look for a cutesy restaurant title, TYVM.

Anonymous said...

all this about a japannesed name a white american owned chineese restaurant

Anonymous said...

If your going to hang a flag of a different country other than the American. It needs to fly below the American flag period. Look into that as a Iraqi bet it needs to come down. Who cares what the food taste like. I can care less if their country is caring our debt. Maybe we shouldn't out source to that country. Like I said if you want to fly the flag put the American flag up too, and make sure it flys higher.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Does'nt bother me , the vibe in Walnut Creek is what does bother me.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:22 Flying both flags is only required on Federal and State properties. Think post offices, schools, courthouses.

It would be nice to see an American flag there as well, but not required.

Anonymous said...

I think they should take down the flag and soccer mom should take down that photo that doesn't look even remotely like her.

IdahoGal said...

There are some of us who still consider our country's flag something to be honored. I understand the compulsion to hang onto reminders of one's homeland when transplanted to another land, but, may I remind you all, these people come here willingly. Why is it that those people are revered for loving their homeland while I am reviled for loving mine? (BTW, I was born in Australia). How dare you call those of us who love our country xenophobic. Your government education is showing.

Sinn Feiner said...

If there was a Chinese restaurant over in China that served American food, do you really think that the Chinese Govn't would allow them to fly an American Flag outside of their restaurant??? Hell no! In fact, they would probably be arrested for doing so. In that case, they shouldn't be flying the Chinese flag out here.

Sinn Feiner said...

Speaking of Flags being put up in front of businesses, check this out video!

VIDEO LINK
American Veteran Removes US Flag from beneath Mexican Flag in Reno
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQ6cCPbA8jo

Anonymous said...

All I see is a Chinese flag in front of a Chinese restaurant.Is that really such a big deal? All cultures have the right to be celebrated and treated equally.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

As opposed to worrying about an inanimate object; people should be focused and concerned on the real events occurring closer to home. Oakland is in jeopardy of being completely burned by street thugs when the BART officer's charges are reduced. And conversely, Channel 7 news is examining if the cop killer received a bad shake from the probation & parole system. I really urge people to focus on the real issues and real events in our society and community that impact our lives today and tomorrow.

Anonymous said...
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Dangerous said...

What the hell. you people have been dumbed down by the eduaction system and the medias.
Communism has been responsible for more deaths than Hitler was! How about Tianinamun(however the spell it)square. They killed millions of their own people in the 60's and 70's, They invaded Tabet and ran the Della Lama out. If you want to see smog go there! People are dying from river water it is so polluted. If they demonstrate they get thrown in jail. There were over 5000 demonstrations last year alone because of the dirty air and water.
This is a never ending story but you get the picture. So you turn your backs and find a place for your heads, up your asses as usual!

Anonymous said...
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Edi Birsan said...

The Confederate Flag does not fly on any State Capital, the last place was in South Carolina and it came down some 5 years ago or so. In fact the state flag which had it on 1/3 part of it was reworked so that it is displayed with a series of small flags that flew in the state as I recall. Forget which one.

The Chinese flag is... well the Chinese flag. It would be kind of interesting if they flew the flag of Nationalist China (Taiwan) and then they would stir up protests from Chinese mainlanders who see the Taiwanese as breakaway rebels etc.

International politics is such fun.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

This is America isn't it? The land of the free and the home of the brave. Who are we to tell people what flags they can and can't fly. They are supporting their country that they are from. Now Iam not saying that it's right, and I certainely don't agree with the flying of this flag but as an American citizen they have every right to do so. If you don't like it, look the other way as you walk or drive by, hell don't eat at their restaurant if you don't agree. As for the la fogata mexican flag goes, half of contra costa county is full of mexicans, they should be able to have their flag painted on the side of their building.

Anonymous said...
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Doom said...

USA stands for freedom. We should show the meaning of that. Snibbling wieners, tell me where you can be found. I'll be right over Chinese Hot peppers to ram up your arse

hoofty goofty said...

Sure doesn't stop anyone from buying everything from China. I bet most American flags are made in China. This whole discussion is foolish.

Anonymous said...

To all those who feel they have every right to fly whatever they want, well, what if they decide to not serve African-Americans next? Is that ok? According to your logic it is because they should be able to do whatever they wish as a private business.

Anonymous said...

what do i think well i think you need to get a real life and stop looking for things to complain about, you've obviously got too much time on your hands

Anonymous said...

12:04,

Refusing to serve people based on their race, ethnicity, religion, etc., is illegal. These laws are meant to protect minority groups. How on earth do you figure flying a flag has any correlation at all to minority protections?

If you don't like it, don't patronize their establishment. It's simple. You're all so offended by eating at an establishment flying a Chinese flag, yet you'll all eat on plates and with utensils that have been manufactured in China. What kind of car do you drive? Where are your clothes manufactured?

You're a useless parody of a patriot.

If you really want to be patriotic, buy only American-made products.

Who cares if someone flies a Confederate flag. Nazi flags might fall under racial-hatred laws, which is different than flying a flag because you're proud of your country.

No person should have to become white to live in this country.

I have never seen so much bigotry and racial hatred as I have in Contra Costa County.

Anonymous said...

I never eat in Walnut Creek because all of their restaurants are crappy, expensive, and overrated.

I will, however, make an exception. I intend to eat at this restaurant just to give them some support.

Anonymous said...

If everyone is so up in arms about the ideals the country of China was founded on, why don't we also look at some of the practices we demonstrated when our country became a nation, slavery anyone?

Anonymous said...

Who cares? Seriously. With all the problems we face, people want to worry about a flag? Some of you people need to get a life. They serve CHINESE food - should they put up a Mexican or French flag?

I know the owners and these are nice people simply trying to make a go of it in a borderline location.

I suspect they put the flag up to get a little more attention in a location that needs some attention. I seriously doubt they had ANY idea this would turn into a political issue.

Anonymous said...

"I never eat in Walnut Creek because all of their restaurants are crappy, expensive, and overrated.

I will, however, make an exception. I intend to eat at this restaurant just to give them some support."

Congratulations, because that restaraunt is definitely crappy, expensive and overrated. Knock yourself out!

Anonymous said...

"I know the owners and these are nice people simply trying to make a go of it in a borderline location."

"Borderline" location? Are you kidding me? That's one of prime shopping/eating areas in Walnut Creek.

Anonymous said...

"A world flag signifies a COUNTRY, not a political party or ideology."

In this case it actually does represent the communist revolution and Communism.

Anonymous said...

"Borderline" location? Are you kidding me? That's one of prime shopping/eating areas in Walnut Creek."

Wrong, it's a bit past where most of the prime locations are. Not much foot traffic at all. If what you say is true, why has there been 5-6 other restaurants fail in this location?

Anonymous said...

10:50,

Thanks! The only places worth eating in Walnut Creek are McDonalds and Il Pavone in Saranap. McDonalds isn't overpriced, and Il Pavone is overpriced, but the food is decent. All of the other restaurants? Blech.

If I was going to go out to eat based on the quality of the food, I wouldn't be going to ANY Walnut Creek restaurant.

I have all my spots. Best Mexican in Contra Costa is in East County. Best Chinese is in Oakland. I haven't found any Chinese in Contra Costa that's fit for human consumption.

Oooh, oooh. WC has a newer Le Cheval. I eat at the Oakland Le Cheval often. Good food, sometimes flaky service. How is that if anyone's tried it?

Anonymous said...

"If what you say is true, why has there been 5-6 other restaurants fail in this location?"

Because they were not well run. Just like this Chinese restaurant is, except the food there is even worse than the others like Crepevine. Why has Le Bistro not gone out of business? Why is La Scala doing so well?

Anonymous said...

"The only places worth eating in Walnut Creek are McDonalds and Il Pavone in Saranap."

Yeah, WCYC and Va de Vi are crap, right? Why don't you get out of Rossmoor more often and go to a real restaurant.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

2:42,

I don't live in Rossmoor -- I'm not old enough. I don't live in Walnut Creek or Saranap, but I am a neighbor. Tried all of the restaurants, and they're all crappy and overpriced. Most Contra Costa restaurants are overpriced and leave much to be desired. I'll drive out to go to a good restaurant or stay at home.

Tsk, tsk, tsk to you on your insult against the elderly Rossmoor residents. I've been in there, and I like 'em. Why do you dislike them? Because they're old or because they wield too much power for you?

Anonymous said...

Hey 7:39,

Leave your lame 'grow a pair' somewhere else. It didn't work on the Claycord blog and it didn't work here. Do you have undescended testicles or something?

Anonymous said...

Hey 7:39,

Leave your lame 'grow a pair' somewhere else. It didn't work on the Claycord blog and it didn't work here. Do you have undescended testicles or something?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

More Americans eat Chinese food every day than eat apple pie.

There are more Chinese restaurants in the US than McDonalds, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken combined (per TED conference speaker).

These people came and opened a restaurant in WC for a reason. Probably the same reason ALL your ancestors came to the United States.

Get over this ignorance. By all means go to Il Pavone, probably no heinous Italian flags there...hey didn't Italians throw Christians to the lions...GASP! OMG Down with Pasta!

DumbAsBricks said...

You're right. It is not the "American" flag...it is the flag of the goddamn "United States of America"...and if you don't like it, you can get the f#@K out! Bunch of wimps.

Flags are seriously symbolic. There is much ceremony and propriety built around them. Read up on it before you make up your mind.

Showing both flags shows pride in your culture and appreciation for the opportunity and rights you have as a participant in our great economy (choke choke hack hack)

Anonymous said...

Well, at least YOUR name is correct.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Why is this even a controversy? It's the national flag of the People's Republic outside a Chinese restaurant. For all China's faults (of which there are many, along the lines of environmental policies, human rights, animal welfare, etc.), it's not exactly a rogue nation. The restaurant employs people, pays taxes, and contributes to the city. What more do people want? And it's not as though the U.S. has a spotless human rights record. ... If you like the restaurant's food, eat there. If you don't, don't. Frankly, some of the objections to the flag make me want to go out of my way to eat there.

Superior Firepower said...

I have mixed feelings about this, but I do not think it's worth a resurgence in Cold War emotions.

Just a few points.

1. We need the Chinese as much as they need us. This helps keep us from ever fighting a war with them.

2. Remember that it is the Chinese Government that is currently funding the genocide in the Darfur region while they drill out their oil - (which is why the US does nothing). And don't forget Tibet either.

3. They have the right to fly their flag, and I have a right to burn one and stomp all over it too!

4. Chinese food is damn good.

5. You also have a right to boycot the resturant.

6. We should not be wasting valuable time over an irrelivant subject as this.

7. I am glad that we have Chinese people living in our country. They make decent neighbors and they don't go around dealing drugs, stealing, trashing the neighborhood or having drive by shootings. For the most part Chinese people are meek. I don't support their government, but the people are actually pretty nice. I can't even say that about my own country - The USA.

DumbAsBricks said...

I don't agree with #6, but your argument #4 has changed my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I'd just like some clarification on the note post by Sinn Feiner which said -
If there was a Chinese restaurant over in China that served American food, do you really think that the Chinese Govn't would allow them to fly an American Flag outside of their restaurant??? Hell no! In fact, they would probably be arrested for doing so. In that case, they shouldn't be flying the Chinese flag out here.

???
So does that mean you feel that China's policies are the ones we here in the States should be trying to emulate? That China has the best way of dealing with any expression that does not have governmental sanctification?

I rather think I prefer the way we here allow people to have an opinion, regardless of whether it toes the correct political line or not. (Though I've noted that being allowed free speech is something that is becoming more frowned upon daily.)

Superior Firepower said...

DumbAsBricks

Their food is good, but they have a long way to go in learning how to brew beer.

Or drive a car.

Anonymous said...

They imprison without due process, they torture, they spy on their own citizens, they suppress civil rights, they...oh wait...that's the US until Obama!

Anonymous said...

OK. There are a few Americans that feel that a Chinese person flying the Chinese flag somehow diminishes the American flag.

It's obvious that this has nothing to do with the Chinese people or their flag.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Soccer Mom said...

Dear Anon 9:26:
Deleting your post. It's annoying, but I suppose that's why you continue posting it. Ha ha ha.

Anyway, I'm going to Sleepy Town now. Big day tomorrow. Gotta clean out the garage and stuff like that. I lead such a glamorous life.

I suppose I'm flattered that you'd take the time to post comments that I'll keep deleting when they come to my attention.

In any event, nightie-night. Hope you have sweet dreams, too.

Anonymous said...

I think that it is wrong. Sorry, this is America and we need to show more support for our country and NOW more than ever. Somewhere along the line as American's we need to say enough is enough. My Immigrant great-grandparents wouldn't dare wave their country of origin's flags once they arrived here. They wouldn't even let their children speak their native languages. They were told that they were American's now and they would speak English! How are we going to stop the flood of change that seems to be eroding so many of the values that people came to this country for in the first place if we don't ban together and say stop? I would feel much better if these folks loved this country enough to fly an American flag. I don't care how good the food is. If they want to fly a Chinese flag they should move to China and do it there. They can also have a nice comparison to go by then. Better to live in the United States or China??? Then see which flag they want to wave.

Sorry, my username isn't working.

Sincerely,

Revcoco

Anonymous said...

I think that it is wrong. Sorry, this is America and we need to show more support for our country and NOW more than ever. Somewhere along the line as American's we need to say enough is enough. My Immigrant great-grandparents wouldn't dare wave their country of origin's flags once they arrived here. They wouldn't even let their children speak their native languages. They were told that they were American's now and they would speak English! How are we going to stop the flood of change that seems to be eroding so many of the values that people came to this country for in the first place if we don't ban together and say stop? I would feel much better if these folks loved this country enough to fly an American flag. I don't care how good the food is. If they want to fly a Chinese flag they should move to China and do it there. They can also have a nice comparison to go by then. Better to live in the United States or China??? Then see which flag they want to wave.

Revcoco

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

The first step in taking over a country usually starts with changing the language. When a country is conquered a new flag is typically raised. Inconsequential? I guess the question is "What language and flag matters to you?"

Revcoco









Revcoco

Anonymous said...

All our flags are now owned by China? They were probably all made there. But, do you ever wonder why they are so concerned about our economy??? Let's see, we have their cheap flags and they have our...

Revcoco

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Ching Chong Bing Bong.

Arl your frag are berong to us.

BreakBeard said...

Hey,

They took it down. I saw this blog post on claycord.com but had not seen the flag until I read this. I noticed it was there for a couple weeks and now for the last week it has been gone.