Chinese immigrant and U.S. Army veteran Yan Xiong to challenge Bill de Blasio for new Congressional district

Chinese immigrant and U.S. Army veteran Yan Xiong to challenge Bill de Blasio for new Congressional district

Yan Xiong, a former chaplain in the US Army, is running against Bill de Blasio for Congress, saying it would be “horrible” if the former mayor was elected.

Xiong, a 57-year-old Chinese immigrant who protested at the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 and later joined the U.S. Army, maintained that de Blasio’s policies would be harmful to the district, which has a 20% Asian American population.

De Blasio last week declared he is running for the 10th District House seat, and Xiong has decided to challenge the former mayor of New York City, for the Democratic primary on Aug. 23.

“De Blasio ignored Chinatown and Asian American community,” Xiong told the New York Post on Sunday. “The Chinese community will not be ignored if I’m elected to Congress.”

Xiong has been critical of many of de Blasio’s policies, including his attempt to get rid of the admission test for students to get into specialized high schools. Xiong said de Blasio’s policies don’t promote merit and achievement and “don’t encourage students to study hard.” De Blasio had previously tried to change the policies because only a small number of black and latino students were admitted.

Xiong will also fight de Blasio’s plan to close Rikers Island’s jail complex and replace it with four smaller borough-based jails, with one set in Chinatown.

De Blasio announced his plans to run to represent New York’s 10th Congressional District on Friday, contending he is uniquely qualified to help people who are “hurting,” following his two-term tenure as the mayor of New York City. Prior to leaving office as New York City’s mayor, he had an approval rating of 25%, with 56% of New York voters viewing him unfavorably.

The Department of Justice revealed in March that Xiong was being spied on by China in an attempt to undermine his congressional run. The plot included digging up dirt on him, pushing falsehoods, and using violence. Xiong, however, was not concerned, saying, “I experienced the Iraqi battlefield, so I have no fear.”

The DOJ has accused Qiming Lin, a former Chinese police officer who later joined China’s Ministry of State Security, of attempting to sabotage Xiong with his spying.

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