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Asian leaders question Dems’ Liu snub

TimesLedger Newspapers

A group of Asian-American leaders in Queens is demanding an explanation from state Democrats as to why they did not invite city Comptroller John Liu to the national convention in September.

On June 6, prominent members of the Chinese and Korean communities gathered at the offices of the Flushing Chinese Business Association downtown to sound off about the snub and sign a letter that was later fired off to Charlie King, executive director of the state committee.

“We are very shocked and surprised by the news that John Liu was denied a seat,” said Justin Yu, chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York. “Not only the Chinese community is outraged, but I think the whole Democratic Party should raise questions against such a mysterious decision.”

The Democratic convention is held every four years, and hundreds of delegates flock to the chosen city to choose their party’s candidate to run for president.

Liu’s campaign for mayor has been under investigation by the FBI and two campaign aides are charged with wire fraud, but Liu himself has not been implicated, which was pointed out by many of the leaders gathered at the conference table and in the letter sent to King.

“Though sources say the federal probe into his campaign finances contributed to the decision to reject him, there was no official statement released that justified why he was denied the slot,” according to the letter, which was signed by a slew of leaders in the community. “A final ruling on Comptroller Liu’s innocence has not yet been given, so you can understand why some members of our community have been expressing confusion towards the matter.”

The state Democrats did not respond to a request for comment.

Because Liu has not been formally charged, others gathered at the meeting took his omission as a snub to the entire Asian community, since Liu is the first and only Asian American elected to citywide office.

“It’s not just about John Liu the person, it’s about the symbol of John Liu,” said another prominent figure in the Queens Korean community.

Liu’s spokesman, George Artz, would not comment on the meeting nor whether Liu himself felt snubbed by the lack of an invite.

“John was a delegate four years ago and, although he will not be a delegate this time, he will work vigorously for the re-election of President Obama in every way possible,” he said.

Queens leaders do not expect the party to send a belated invitation to Liu’s door, but they simply want an explanation as to why he was not invited, claiming that such a colossal snub would never have happened in the black or Latino community.

Longtime Flushing political figure Ethel Chen said she expected Liu to be a speaker at the convention, but was shocked to find that he was not even asked to be a delegate.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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