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Racist motives behind twin cities relationship severance
On April 14, 2020, in the absence of the mayor, the Municipal Council of Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, led by several members, approved a motion to sever the twin cities relationship between the Wagga Wagga and the Chinese city of Kunming.
In a written statement, Kun-ming city Municipal Government expressed its firm opposition "to a few city councilors of Wagga Wagga who discredited and slandered the Chinese political system, as well as the epidemic prevention and control work".
"Over the years, the friendly exchanges between Kunming and Wagga Wagga have been successful, and non-governmental exchanges have become increasingly intensive.
"On April 16, Mayor Greg Conk of Wagga Wagga wrote a letter to Mayor Wang Xiliang of Kunming city, expressing his apology for approving the motion of severing the twin cities relationship, stating that a new motion will be proposed in the near future to cancel the previous determination.
"In the meanwhile, we have also noticed that the vast majority of the citizens of Wagga Wagga expressed strong opposition and condemnation to the behaviors of the few councilors, which is consistent with the friendly relationship between the two cities.
"Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee, China has made remarkable achievements in the prevention and control of the outbreak.
"Kunming, like other cities in the country, has also achieved obvious results in epidemic prevention and control and the production and life of the people have been restored in an orderly manner.
"We believe that the blasphemy of a few people in Wagga Wagga cannot represent mainstream public opinion.
"Kunming hopes that with the joint efforts of Mayor Greg Conkey and the friendly citizens of Wagga Wagga, the two sides will be able to push the friendly and cooperative relations between the two sides back on the right track at an early date".
Wagga Wagga Mayor Greg Conkey, who could not attend the previous council meeting because he was sick, said he was "distraught" when he found out about the decision.
"You've got to bear in mind it was only three councillors who voted for that decision. There are nine councillors on Wagga City Council and it was only unusual circumstance that allowed this motion to get up," he said.
Mayor Greg Conk wrote to Mayor Wang Xiliang of Kunming city, expressing his apology for the motion, stating that a new motion will be proposed in the near future to reverse it.
Also, one of the three councillors who voted in favor of the move, Tim Koschel, has backflipped on his decision and took to Facebook to apologise.
"I apologize to our sister city of Kunming in China, my fellow councillors, as well as my local community for my actions", he wrote.
The "damaging" decision of the council to cut ties with China was overturned after widespread community backlash and criticism from the Chinese consul-general in Sydney.
In a new vote taken at a special meeting by the Wagga Wagga Council on 22 April, the Councillors voted in vast majority to restore the twin city relationship and issue an apology.
Nazi flag incident
In another extremist incident in February 2020, a Nazi swastica was seen flying atop a light tower at a public oval in the city of Wagga Wagga. The flag was removed by local council immediately after it was first reported.
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