He Jinli – The Chinese Name Kamala Harris Adopted During 2003 Run For San Francisco District Attorney

During the 2003 race for the San Francisco District Attorney, Kamala Harris adopted the Chinese name He Jinli to woo the Chinese- American community there. The Chinese name He Jinli was given to Kamala Harris by the San Francisco Women’s Commissioner Su Rongli and her late father Su Xifen, an overseas Chinese leader.

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He Jinli - The Chinese Name Kamala Harris Adopted During 2003 Run For San Francisco District Attorney
He Jinli – The Chinese Name Kamala Harris Adopted During 2003 Run For San Francisco District Attorney

Kamala Harris aka He Jinli

The Chinese media reported on how Kamala Harris became He Jinli at the advice of the daughter of an overseas Chinese leader.

The Chinese name He Jinli was given to Kamala Harris by the San Francisco Women’s Commissioner Su Rongli and her late father Su Xifen, an overseas Chinese leader. Since then, most of the non- Chinese public office candidates in San Francisco have imitated Harris’s official Chinese name.

The Chinese name was given to He Jinli by the San Francisco Women's Commissioner Su Rongli and her late father Su Xifen, an overseas Chinese leader.
During the 2003 race for the San Francisco District Attorney, Kamala Harris adopted the Chinese name He Jinli to woo the Chinese- American community there.

Su Rongli

Su Rongli worked as a lawyer for the California Insurance Bureau for many years. She followed her late father Su Xifen and served as the San Francisco City Council Women’s Committee for many years.

Su Rongli, who has been in friendship with He Jinli for 20 years, went to Wulun (Auckland) on the 27th (January 2019) to participate in the presidential election of He Jinli (Kamala Harris). Su Rongli said that although she has known He Jinli for many years, she still has to choose a candidate who is best for the community in the election. The main reason she went to Wulun to participate in the rally was that she wanted to hear more about He Jinli’s political opinions.

Kamala Harris He Jinli Su Rongli
The Chinese name He Jinli was given to Kamala Harris by the San Francisco Women’s Commissioner Su Rongli and her late father Su Xifen, an overseas Chinese leader. (Archive photo, photography by reporter Li Xiulan)

Su Xifen

When talking about the process of choosing a Chinese name for He Jinli, Su Rongli said:

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At that time, He Jinli (Kamala) talked to her about the strategy of winning Chinese votes. She suggested that He Jinli take a unified Chinese name that would be easier for Chinese voters to remember. He Jinli thought this was a good suggestion. Because she was born and raised in the United States of Chinese descent, and her Chinese was not good, she asked her father Su Xifen, an overseas Chinese leader, for help.

Su Xifen was active in the Chinese General Assembly Hall before his death, as a structural engineer in the San Francisco Public Works Bureau. Su Rongli said that her father chose a Chinese name He Jinli for Kamala.

California outlaws use of foreign names on ballots

After 15 years of being elected to public office, some people of Chinese descent claimed that He Jinli had little interaction with the Chinese community, and Su Rongli agreed. Su Rongli said that she hopes He Jinli can hire more Chinese to join her presidential campaign. She must win votes from Chinese voters in the United States and strengthen interaction with the Chinese community, which is beneficial to both the Chinese community and He Jinli.

Although, Harris was identified as “starting the tradition” of non-Chinese individuals running for public office adopting Chinese names, California outlawed the use of candidates using foreign names different from their English names on ballots in 2019.

Kamala Harris & Slavery

As the presidential buzz continues to grow around the candidacy of California Senator Kamala Harris, interest is also growing around her little-known Jamaican heritage. The ancestor of Kamala Harris was the infamous white slave owner in Jamaica, Hamilton Brown.

Kamala Harris is descended from Irish slave owner Hamilton Brown, the namesake of Brown’s Town in Jamaica, who recruited massive numbers of Irish migrants to Jamaica to work on his sugar plantations after the British empire abolished slavery.

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