After being blasted as a ‘ghost town’ and a ‘ruined city’ by Chinese media outlets, San Francisco officials have not only cleaned up the troubled city ahead of President Xi Jinping’s visit but erected walls for security.
Xi is set to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the San Francisco Bay area, where he will meet President Joe Biden for the first time in over a year.
Not only has the city been cleaned up significantly and the homeless removed but they’ve erected steel security walls in the downtown area for the Communist ruler’s visit.
After being blasted as a ‘ghost town’ and a ‘ruined city’ by Chinese media outlets, San Francisco officials have not only cleaned up the troubled city ahead of President Xi Jinping’s visit but erected walls for security
DailyMail.com reported Friday that city officials are shooing the homeless out of the downtown and to other parts of the city ahead of the summit, with the mess likely to return once APEC leaves town.
The Chinese government, meanwhile, is posting 100 private security guards around the luxury St. Regis hotel where their diplomats and business executives are staying, supplementing security in a city their media has likened to ‘hell.’
The unprecedented measures are designed to present a clean and shiny image during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, the city’s biggest gathering of global leaders since 1945, and prevent the sorts of street spectacles that have battered the city’s reputation.
The city expects the conference, which kicks off Saturday and will run through November 17, to draw more than 20,000 people and generate upwards of $50million in revenue.
The area also saw several protests on Sunday, with anti-capitalists joining forces with pro-Palestinian marchers.
Others, however, blasted Xi as a dictator and demanded he free Tibet, adding ‘your time is up!’
Topics for the meeting of Biden and Xi are expected to include the Israel-Hamas war to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, North Korea‘s ties with Russia, Taiwan, the Indo-Pacific, human rights, fentanyl, artificial intelligence, as well as ‘fair’ trade and economic relations, administration officials said.
‘Nothing will be held back; everything is on the table,’ one senior Biden administration official told reporters.
Not only has the city been cleaned up significantly and the homeless removed but they’ve erected steel security walls in the downtown area for the Communist ruler’s visit
A sign signals road closures as security preparations are under way at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit
People walk through a security gate as security preparations are under way
Demonstrators hold placards during the “No on APEC” protest on the sidelines of the conference
‘We’re clear-eyed about this. We know efforts to shape or reform China over several decades have failed. But we expect China to be around and to be a major player on the world stage for the rest of our lifetimes.’
Officials declined to offer details about the location of Biden’s and Xi’s meeting, citing security concerns. Thousands of protesters are expected to descend on San Francisco during the summit.
The two men last met at a G20 meeting in November 2022 in Bali. They have not spoken since.
But several top Cabinet officials – including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo – have traveled to China as both sides try to keep relations open.
At their sitdown in San Francisco, Biden is expected to raise the sensitive issue of China’s influence operations in America along with the status of U.S. citizens that Washington believes are wrongly detained in China.
Since their last meeting, the U.S. has expressed concerns about Chinese espionage in the U.S. In February a Chinese spy balloon made its way across the United States until an American fighter jet downed it off the coast of South Carolina.
The administration is also concerned about China’s military aggression in Taiwan.
But the main goal of the meeting is to keep communication going.
Officials declined to offer details about the location of Biden’s and Xi’s meeting, citing security concerns. Thousands of protesters are expected to descend on San Francisco during the summit
Some protesters blasted Xi as a dictator and demanded he free Tibet, adding ‘your time is up!’
Pro-Palestine and anti-capitalist protesters were in full voice against APEC Sunday
Left-wing protesters denounce Israel on the sidelines of APEC in San Francisco
‘The goals here really are about managing the competition, preventing the downside risk of conflict and ensuring channels of communication are open,’ said an administration official.
While the city gears up for the event, U.S. Chinese Radio used the headline ‘Ghost town San Francisco to have major blood exchange as APEC will bring the safest week in history to the city.’
Other headlines include the phrases ‘garbage city, ‘ruined city’ and ‘fallen city’, as crippling drug issues and widespread homeless problems continue to cause problems for the city.
Another headline from the Chinese site Phoenix also said the city had fallen into a ‘death cycle’.
One article also states: ‘San Francisco was once a jewel on the West Coast of the United States, but as the Democrats advanced their radical agenda.
‘Now it has become a mecca of crime, the streets are in disarray, and it is rapidly slipping towards the status of a ghost town.’
In an attempt to combat the ongoing issues, residents have also decided to start blasting the Star Wars title theme to keep homeless people from sleeping on the sidewalks.
California Governor Gavin Newsom, left, is seen here with Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, who is preparing to visit the state next week
Homeless people gather outside San Francisco’s Federal Building on August 19, 2023 in San Francisco, California
The city has struggled with an overdose epidemic partially driven by the spread of the synthetic opioid fentanyl
One building at the corner of Van Ness Avenue and Eddy Street in the city now has two speakers above a bus stop to use them as a deterrent.
The San Francisco Standard reported that one unhoused person, Oscar Pancho told them: ‘It’s f***ing annoying.
‘It’s like jazz or circus music, or something. It doesn’t work anyway; they still s**t over there with the music on.’
Jennifer Friedenbach, head of the Coalition on Homelessness, told the standard that speaker systems are uncommon but believes that they’re a tactic meant to deter homeless people from settling.
Friedenbach said: ‘We’ve heard of this as an anti-homeless measure. I don’t think it’s particularly effective. [Homeless] people don’t have anywhere to go and loud music doesn’t change that.’
The Standard also reported that 99 planters had been set up in that area to dissuade homeless people from sleeping on the side walks.
The city has struggled for years with rampant fentanyl use and fatal overdoses, and is on pace for its deadliest year yet.
As of October 29, the San Francisco Police Department reported homicides in the city are up 7 percent, robbery is up 14.4 percent and motor vehicle theft is up 8.3 percent.
The spotlight will be on the city as the Chinese President meets with President Biden for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit
One article says the city has fallen into a ‘death cycle’ and another says the California city become a ‘mecca for crime’
The San Francisco Standard also revealed the city has filed an application to build a mental health center for homeless people who are uninsured on Market Street.
Infrastructure in the area has also left customers saying the store is inaccessible and inconvenient.
In the first five months of 2023, preliminary reports show there were 346 overdose deaths in the city – an increase of more than 40 percent from the same period in 2022.
Latest figures show that overdose deaths are continuing to rise, soaring in August with an additional 84 deaths, 66 involving fentanyl.
Economists had also previously warned the city is spiraling into an ‘urban doom loop’ – a vicious circle of interconnected trends and forces that send cities into economic and social ruin.
Over the past year, dozens of high profile retailers announced they would be vacating the downtown area of the city.
Retail stalwart Old Navy announced they would be shuttering their flagship store in the area last month, becoming the latest chain to exit the city.
Nordstrom also announced they would be closing all of their locations in the city.
A map reveals the major businesses which have left, or plan to leave, San Francisco in recent months
In April, Whole Foods announced it was closing all their locations, with Anthropologie and Office Depot having also made the same decisions.
Earlier this week, photos also emerged of a desolate Ikea in downtown San Francisco as customers say persistent construction, lack of parking and high crime has kept them from shopping at the store.
One user by the name of MissionLoco posted photos on X, formerly Twitter, inside the store showing stocked shelves but nearly empty aisles with no customers.
‘The new Ikea is dead as a doorknob. Outside, the construction noise is deafening. The street scene, disheartening,’ the user said.
On October 1, a man went on a stabbing spree near 4th and Market Streets, just blocks away from Ikea.
One user shared on X, formerly Twitter, pictures of the new downtown San Francisco store nearly empty aisles with no customers
The photos show stocked shelves but no customers around. People have said no parking and nearby crime has deterred them from going to the store
Three people were attack and police said the assailant was a suspect in an assault that happened near Market and Battery streets earlier that day, reported KGO.
In an effort to increase officers on the streets, the San Francisco Police Department (SPFD) went on a recruitment drive by visiting four Texas campuses in September.
A police spokesperson told the Standard that the number of estimated applications this year is 2,104, nearly a 20 percent increase from 1,756 last year.
Following widespread calls for reforms that swept the nation following the murder of George Floyd, the department in the California city had it funding cut.
Mayor London Breed was one of the first to openly speak out in support of defunding the police.
Drug addicts and the homeless congregate in the Tenderloin District of the California city
Open air use of class A substances is rampant among the homeless population of the city
Mayor London Breed has previously said that the city is changing for the better, but has also said that the Tenderloin and South of Market areas still present challenges
Breed announced $120 million would be cut from the police and sheriff’s departments to reinvest in programs that help black and brown communities.
The following year, Breed u-turned on the decision and increased the police budget as the city faced a rampant rise in property crime and looting.
In September, the boss of Salesforce hit out at officials in the city for only making it ‘safe’ during the company’s annual convention.
Salesforce Inc. CEO Marc Benioff said he had pushed officials in the California city to clean the place up before the company’s annual conference, named Dreamforce.
In response, Mayor London Breed said: ‘It’s not just because of Dreamforce. There are other conventions. This is what we do for every convention that comes to SF.
‘My pushback is San Francisco changing. Things are getting better.’
Despite this, Mayor Breed did concede that some areas of the city, particularly the Tenderloin and South of Market, did still present challenges.