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Marion Barry: Ticking off Asians since the 80s

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D.C Councilman Marion Barry made news on Tuesday when he said this during his election night victory speech: "We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops. They ought to go. I’m going to say that right now. But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.”

He defended his remarks on Twitter, saying "[T]he comment was meant to convey that some stores need better service to and engagement with the community than what is provided now." (And he really hates plexiglass for some reason)

Barry also said on a D.C-based news-talk radio program this morning that in the 1980s he went to China and "[helped open] up relationships when the United States government wasn't having good relationships with the Chinese community." Barry didn't specify how.

But Loose Lips, a Washington City Paper blog, found something about Barry's past relationship with Asian Americans regarding that trip to China.

[A Washington Post] article from that era that says Barry upset many in the Chinese-American community when he got back from the trip by partnerning with the Chinese government to build the giant arch you see in Chinatown.

"City officials paid little heed to warnings that many Chinese-American residents who fled communist rule on mainland China years ago would be offended by any project that was sponsored or financed by Peking's government," the Post reported.

By the way, this is the "giant arch" in Chinatown, D.C.

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