Brandon Yan relieved over stop of court action against his Chinese name in Vancouver ballot

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      The legal action against the addition of Brandon Yan’s Chinese name in the Vancouver ballot has been abandoned.

      Ken Denike and Sophia Woo have discontinued their notice of claim that questioned the inclusion of Chinese characters next to Yan’s name.

      Yan is the only candidate in the October 20 civic election that was able to have an additional Chinese name in the ballot, which Denike and Woo claimed was unfair to others.

      Yan is running for city council, and Denike and Woo are candidates for school board.

      For Yan, the controversy over his Chinese name was a “silly” issue.

      “For someone like me, as I said, who got into this election because I wanted to put myself out there as a renter and as someone who wanted to make change in Vancouver and then to have a very silly thing, it seemed silly to me anyways, kind of distract me from all of that, so while I was talking about my name, we weren’t talking about housing or transportation or poverty or drug use,” Yan told the Georgia Straight by phone Monday (September 24)

      Yan said that it was “all very weird” for him that he became a “target” because he had Chinese characters next to his name in the ballot.

      “We see many non-Chinese candidates have Chinese names on their lawn signs, and so why is the criticism only coming my way?” Yan asked.

      Now that Denike and Woo have withdrawn their case, Yan feels “relieved”.

      “We still have an election to run in 26 days,” Yan said.

      Yan was sought for comment after Denike revealed that he and Woo are no longer pursuing their notice of claim before the B.C. Supreme Court.

      Denike and Woo had suggested that if Yan’s Chinese name is not removed, then other candidates should be allowed to have Chinese names in the ballot as well.

      Denike told the Straight by phone that he and Woo abandoned the court action last Friday (September 21) because it became “pretty clear that the city was not going to really back down”.

      “We didn’t want to hold up the whole process,” Denike said by phone, referring to the election.

      According to Denike, he and Woo would like to see more conversations by citizens about the use of other names when the election is done. 

      Yan does not speak Chinese, and had claimed that he wanted the Chinese characters in the ballot as a way to honour his father who gave him a Chinese name.