DHARAMSALA, 16 April: Wagga Wagga, a city in New South Wales, Australia has severed its sister-city ties with a Chinese city as it held the “regime responsible” for the ”death and destruction’’ caused by the pandemic.
The city council of Wagga Wagga announced to formally cut ties with its Chinese sister city, Kunming after it narrowly voted to pass the motion on Tuesday, media reports said.
The motion to discard the 22-year sister city relationship was reported to have been pushed through with the support of three conservative councillors, while others, including the city’s mayor Greg Conkey, were absent or unable to vote.
The development came amid growing criticism across the globe over China’s lack of transparency on the severity of the COVID-19 when it first emerged in Wuhan in December last year.
The motion to ditch the 22-year sister city relationship was reportedly tabled by Wagga Councillor Paul Funnel.
According to the Daily advertiser Councillor Paul Funnell, the former president of the Democratic Labour party, has stated that Kunming was part of a regime that ‘lied to the world’ about the coronavirus outbreak, reported The Daily Advertiser, an Australian community Media.
He has further said that it was not a “knee-jerk reaction” to coronavirus, nor a debate fuelled by racism, but an attempt to set an example.
Calling the sister-city relationship, not “a true friendship,” the Councillor has said that “We must end that relationship arrangement and not condone such behaviour.”
The decision, he said will send a message that “we will not tolerate lies and subterfuge.”
The move, however, has received widespread community backlash and criticism from the Chinese consul-general in Sydney, and that the decision is likely to be reversed, ABC reported.
“The council today called an extraordinary meeting for next Wednesday to rescind the vote,” it added.
The largest inland city in New South Wales, Australia now joins Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic which also tore up its sister city agreement with Beijing.
Prague terminated its sister city agreement with Beijing due to a dispute over the removal of China’s one-China policy clause from their agreement earlier October 2019.