Last night, the Empire State Building was lit up in red and yellow in honor of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. However, some didn't feel very warmly about the event—protesters (numbering around 20) were outside the afternoon lighting ceremony, saying it was "outright, blatant approval for a communist totalitarian system."
Lhadon Tethong, executive director of Students for a Free Tibet, said, "It's a great public relations coup for the Chinese state. But on the other hand, it's sure to backfire because the American public and the global public will speak against it." And Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn) said that China was an "oppressive regime" with a "shameful history on human rights" and shouldn't be honored while Rep. Peter King (R-Long Island) called it a "sad day."
City Room spoke to Peng Keyu, China's counsel general who flipped the switch, who was happy, "This is really a great gesture...a symbol of unity between our countries and our peoples." Peng added that China had been opening up its policies and would continue to do so. As for the Empire State Building, its reps told City Room, that it "doesn’t discuss the intricacies of the lighting approval process."
The ESB lighting will be red-yellow-red tonight as well, and then it becomes blue-blue-white for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts' 125th Anniversary.