By Ray Lewis
Chinese diplomats reportedly paid supporters to greet Xi Jinping, the president of the People’s Republic of China, upon his arrival in San Francisco Tuesday.
Members of the Chinese diaspora in the U.S. received $200 each to do so, according to NTD Television. Members were reportedly instructed to greet the leader with flags outside his hotel.
The supporters rallied around the area with banners, balloons and music, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Approximately 1,000 backers participated, coming mostly from China, according to the U.S. division of Sing Tao Daily, a Chinese newspaper. Liu Qiang, an organizer for the flag-bearers, reportedly arranged 20 buses to transport them from New York, California and other states.
Qiang also reportedly hired 10 armed guards to “maintain order on the scene.”
Xi arrived ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit and a meeting with President Joe Biden. The two leaders discussed the nations’ relationships with Taiwan, as well as the curbed production of illicit fentanyl in China, which has infiltrated drug operations in the U.S., according to the Associated Press.
“It’s going to save lives,” Biden said of plans to restrict the drug, “and I appreciated President Xi’s commitment on this issue.”
Paid Chinese proponents have surfaced in California before, according to Taiwanese intelligence officials. Such individuals reportedly protested a meeting between Tsai Ing-wen, the president of the Republic of China, and then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy for up to $400.
Tensions between China and the U.S. have escalated recently. In February, Biden ordered a Chinese spy balloon to be shot down after it traveled across the U.S.
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