April 17, 2009

Flag of the People’s Republic of China stolen from front of Chinese restaurant

The infamous red flag hanging in front of OI-C Bowl Chinese Kitchen and Bar on Main Street, which I featured in a widely discussed post March 24, has been stolen.

Walnut Creek police say the theft was reported at around 5 p.m Thursday.

The theft occurred about two weeks after a man called the restaurant to complain that “Chinese democracy is not good," the restaurant’s manager told the Contra Costa Times. The manager also said that taking the flag would be a somewhat complicated endeavor. The thief would have to unscrew the flagpole from the wall in order to remove the flag. The bracket was accessible only from a second-floor balcony.

The manager complained to the Times that the theft was discrimination.

In my post, I did not say whether I thought it was right or wrong for the flag to be flying. I explained that a reader contacted me to raise questions about the appropriateness of a flag flying in downtown Walnut Creek. 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?”

Frankly, I didn't have a position on whether the flag should fly or not. I was just interested in hearing what others thought.

I also went off on my own political/philosophical/historical tangent, considering: whether communism is the big bad threat to the United States that it was in the Cold War or actually a discredited ideology; whether China is really all that communist any more or just plain authoritarian; whether Americans feel threatened by China's formidable economic heft; whether it’s all that wrong for a Chinese restaurant to fly a flag representing the nation of its menu’s origins, when Italian, Mexican, and French restaurants fly flags, colors of their flags, and symbols of their national origins all the time. (Of course, I haven’t seen any Vietnamese flags flying in any Vietnamese restaurants I’ve been into lately. They all seem to go for the theme harkening back to their oppression under French colonialism. Go figure.)

One reader raised an interesting objection, describing his parents as suffering under the Communist Party regime that runs China. That reader found this flag offensive. Interesting viewpoint. Worth considering, I think.

Meanwhile, neighbors of the restaurant told the Times they were not offended by the Chinese flag, and the restaurant’s manager says she plans to replace it.

A couple things I want to add:

First, I regret that in my original post I didn't contact the restaurant's owners to ask them why they chose to fly the flag. I should have. I apologize to them and to readers.

Second, from the timing, it sounds like the person calling the restaurant to complain about the flag did so after my post appeared. Who knows whether he saw my post, or he had simply noticed the flag like anybody else walking or driving along Main Street?

But third, in no way do I condone anyone stealing this flag. Just because I wrote about it on my stupid blog doesn't mean I think this local business should be harassed in a criminal way.


Anonymous said...

Arl your frag are berong to us!

Anonymous said...

The flag was HUGE. Seriously, you don't see Le Bistro next door flying a gigantic French flag, so the only thing I can think is they have a HUGE superiority complex. In actuality it could very well be an inferiority complex, and choose to hang a giant flag to make up for the crappy food and decor.

Anonymous said...

Who cares if they fly a flag. And, is there any law or ordinance against it? If not, more power to them!

Anonymous said...

Way too many control freaks 'round here.

Soccer Mom said...

8:11 p.m. You're back! Oh joy!

Meanwhile, this comment did show up on my earlier post about this flag "controversy."

It's dated 1 p.m. April 15.
I admit I read it, and I just didn't get a chance to check into it. So, perhaps the theft, though reported yesterday afternoon, actually occurred at least a day earlier: Here's the April 15 comment:

"They took it down. I saw this blog post on 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.

Anonymous said...

It's really sad that a bunch of bloggers would make folks feel so bad (and perhaps scared), they'd remove their flag. This is one of my big problems with blogging. Not a balanced post to begin with. Scare tactics.

Soccer Mom said...

Anon 9:42 p.m.
What, in your opinion, wasn't balanced about the original post?

My only failure, which I admit, is that I didn't contact the restaurant's owner and ask why they were flying it. That was an oversight. I would do the original post differently.

Otherwise, I raised questions, mainly to understand why people might object to a flag that some associate with a communist regime. I was interested in getting different viewpoints. I didn't say whether it was right or wrong.

Do people have anti-Chinese feelings? Are objections to seeing this flag about closet xenophobia, especially because they are the United State's real superpower rival these days? Or, are people still scared of the communist bogeyman?

There might be some people who left mainland China who would have serious problems with the communist party, a minority, still running that country. Maybe that's why they live here, not there. A lot of people suffered under the communist regime. The Cultural Revolution mean anything to you?

And some say that the Chinese government, which flies that flag, is still responsible for serious human rights violations. (Then again, some might say the same thing about our government under George Bush.)

Scare tactics? Give me a break.

I raised valid questions. The restaurant flew its flag in a prominent public location. It upset some people. I reported people being upset, and was interested to find out why.

Anonymous said...

Ching Chong Bing Bong!

Soccer Mom said...

Anon 10:17 a.m.
See you're back. Perhaps I should be flattered? In a sad, twisted way, dark-humored way? Anyway, it's nighty-night time. Hope you have a good weekend.

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised someone would steal the flag. A lot of people obviously have issues with anything outside of what they consider to be right. Wouldn't surprise me if the person who took it was the type to sit upon their ivory tower and judge those they deem less then them then turn around and steal like the trash they are.

Their flag wasn't bothering you at all but you still chose to be a dick. Congratulations.

BreakBeard said...

In response: Meanwhile, this comment did show up on my earlier post about this flag "controversy."

It's dated 1 p.m. April 15.
I admit I read it, and I just didn't get a chance to check into it. So, perhaps the theft, though reported yesterday afternoon, actually occurred at least a day earlier: Here's the April 15 comment:

"They took it down. I saw this blog post on 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.

I posted this comment.
I noticed the flag missing around 2 weeks ago. The week of the 5th-11th. I work right around the corner and walk by it every time I have a shift. I never had a problem with it, I could care less if they fly their flag personally. Big fan of and Crazy in Suburbia and was following up on this article.

Mr. Mayor said...

I don't think Soccer Mom's original post was unfair, she just presented a fact, and asked people about it. It's not her fault if somebody decided to steal the flag, nor did she use any scare tactics while presenting her story.

Keep up the good work, wife.


Anonymous said...


this is america, where we all have the right to fly any flag we want. if you dont like it you can move to china!


Barry said...

Curious...has the WCPD contacted you (Crazy Momma) or demand any of your "flag posts" for evidence?

A Democrat, not Communist said...

Yes this is America which means NOBODY should be flying Communist flags anywhere! We're the Land of the Free.

I commend whoever took down that Chinese Communist Flag. I was even considering it myself.

Anonymous said...


You should look up free and freedom in the dictionary.

I hope they catch who did it and give them 30 days or so. Better yet, perhaps they should have to perform community service within the Asian community!

Democrat for Freedom

Anonymous said...

Such Hypocrites. Some of you on here are such narrow minded swine. You consider yourselves as democratic and home of the free. What about those that fly the confederate flags? Should we steal every one of those and break the glass to trucks that have these stickers? After all, it symbolizes a belief in slavery. Or what about those African restaurants that fly their countries flags when apartheid and genocide is taking place? Should we vandalize their properties too? It’s these uneducated baboons that really taint the world’s image of Americans. It is people like you that make it un-American.

Anonymous said...

trolls are funny.

personally, i blame the ACLU.

Soccer Mom said...

Dear Barry,
No the police have not contacted me, if they are aware this blog exists. The manager of the restaurant didn't know. And certainly the Contra Costa Times didn't know, or didn't cop (forgive the pun) to it.
There is my story. No notes. Hmm. Will they subpoena, like Google, or Blogger, to try to trace the identities of anyone who posted anything the least bit threatening? Seems like a lot of effort and money for what is probably a misdemeanor burglary and theft.

A Democrat, not a Communist said...

If the person gets caught, they'll just get slapped on the wrist and that's it being that they're laying off a good portion of our D.A.'s and sheriff's.

Anonymous said...

Are we at war with China? Why would you even make an issue of this? It's a non-story, but it appears some wingnut took it upon themselves to show how narrow-minded they are.

A flag? C'mon, who cares?

Anonymous said...

The U.S. is at War with China's Human Rights which they show no regard for.

Anonymous said...

Chinese Democracy is the latest Album by Guns and Roses. From what I have heard, it is pretty crappy. So, the flag being stolen is probably not related to the call from the guy stating, "chinese democracy is no good." I think it was some teenager thinking he was being funny. The blog probably had nothing to do with it anyway. It was probably a group of people that got tired of seeing that flag with all that china has been doing and they did something about it. Thats the world we live in. People get pissed to see an other countries flag displayed when this country is crippled and especially if that country's flag is from one that opposes us and is a threat to us. I for one say, good for them. I find it offensive my self.

Anonymous said...


We're at war with China and their human rights abuses? Then why are we buying so many crappy Chinese made products?