Recently after Sweden closed its last Confucius Institute, Goteborg, Sweden ’s second largest city, also announced that it has decided not to renew its sister city agreement with Shanghai.
According to a report from Dagens Nyheter, Sweden ’s largest newspaper, on April 22, following Linköping, the fifth largest city in Sweden, and Örebro, the seventh largest city also announcement the termination of their sister city relationships with their counterparts in China, shortly after the city of Goteborg announced the suspension of its sister city relationship with Shanghai.
According to related reports, Shanghai and Gothenburg established a “friendly exchange relationship” in 1986. The two sides also signed an agreement to become sister cities on October 23, 2003. At the time, Gothenburg became the 51st “international friendly city” for Shanghai. Over the years, the two cities have conducted exchanges and cooperation in the fields of urban public transportation, water treatment, environmental protection, and port management. The agreements between Shanghai and Gothenburg officially expired at the end of 2019. The ruling Swedish Social Democratic Party suggested that the renewal be considered in the future, but other parties thought that the agreement should be terminated. Although the sister city relationship between the two cities no longer exists, the Trade Bureau and Port Authority of Gothenburg will be allowed to continue to maintain its original relationship with Shanghai and China.
While Gothenburg is another Swedish city that has announced the end of its sister city agreement with Chinese cities in the past few months, Linköping City previously terminated its agreement with Guangzhou City. Luleå and Xi’an, Västerås and Jinan have also terminated their sister city programs. Larks Vikinge, the mayor of Linkoping, told Sweden’s Dagens Samhalle in February this year that “as the Chinese embassy threatened the Swedish government, we decided to discontinue all political ties with China.” He also said that a Guangdong delegation was originally scheduled to visit the city in December 2019, but it was told it would not to be welcomed.
In February this year, Mayor Anders Teljeback of Westeros told the Financial Times that he decided to stop cooperating with Chinese cities because “in the past few years, China has escalated domestic Suppression of its people.
It is worth mentioning that the official website of the Chinese Embassy in Sweden posted an article written by Ambassador Gui Congyou, which Sweden Daily originally published. The article criticized “some moderate Swedish politicians use of COVID 19 to make wrong remarks about China and said the remarks were full of false facts, absurd logic and evil intentions.”
Source: Radio France Internationale, April 20, 2020