Dear Sheffield City Council,
We want to bring to your attention the need to terminate the sister city relationships Sheffield Council currently has with Anshan and Cheungdu in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The establishment of the “sister city” agreement was supposed to be a diplomatic strategy to foster economic engagement and cultural exchange between two nations. However, this diplomatic strategy is becoming a manipulative tool for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of the PRC to expand the influence of its dictatorship around the world.
In 2022, British media reported that Chinese tracking devices were discovered inside UK government vehicles, and the CCP operated secret police stations in London and Glasgow to harass political dissidents. Besides, a Hong Kong protester was violently dragged into the Chinese embassy in Manchester and beaten up last year. All these demonstrated clearly how the CCP regime damages people’s freedom and threatens national security in the UK. It is urgent to question the legitimacy of maintaining ties with the CCP, which has been violating human rights and contempt for international relations.
Breaching the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the CCP does not adhere to international rules of conduct, but strips away Hong Kong’s freedom, democracy, and autonomy promised in the “One Country, Two Systems” framework. Besides, from its support of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the persistent military threat against Taiwan, the deliberate erasure of the history of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre by removing 29 out of 149 books about the Tiananmen Massacre from Hong Kong public libraries over the past 12 years, the ongoing Uyghur genocide, to the continuous suppression of the Tibetans, the CCP completely displays its totalitarian nature. The ongoing self-immolation inside Tibet is another big indicator of how repressive the CCP is towards the Tibetans. The self-immolator count stood at 160 right now and it is not just a number. Rather, it shows how much they are deprived of basic human rights. The recent policy to send 800 thousand Tibetan students aged 6 -18 to mandatory Chinese boarding schools across Tibet is a big threat to the very identity of the Tibetan. As Chengdu is a city with a large number of Tibetan, the council should definitely think about who they are twinning up with.
In the past, like in Margaret Thatcher’s era, the West thought when the PRC grew economically, it would become more liberal. It was proven wrong. Besides breaking the international treaty, one must note that the CCP has absolute control over the PRC’s businesses and organisations, by imposing regulations to control their dataflow and decision-making processes, for example, Jack Ma’s Alibaba and ByteDance's Tiktok in the business sector and Confucius Institutes in the cultural sector. Any collaboration with the businesses and cultural organisations in the PRC would only become the Council’s support of the hegemonic regime of the CCP.
The world should not turn a blind eye and kowtow to China’s totalitarianism when there is countless evidence exposing the crimes the Chinese Communist Party has committed since its reign. Newcastle and Bath both de-twinned with the former sister cities in the PRC last year in November. As Sheffield was the first to become the city of Sanctuary, Sheffield should not be the last when it comes to making a clear statement to protect human rights and freedom. Hence, we call on the Sheffield City Council to detwin the PRC cities Anshan and Chengdu.
Note: There was a similar petition on this webpage of Sheffield City Council to call for the same matter in 2022, but we know community members from Hong Kong hesitated to sign on this online platform because it would show their names on the webpage. With the CCP extending its harassment to overseas dissidents, it is only safe if the petition can be signed offline or anonymously online. Therefore, we are doing another round of petition to urge the Sheffield Council to detwin with the CCP in 2023, via this online platform again and, simultaneously, inviting signatures in-person.
Started by: Clara Cheung
This ePetition ran from 12/06/2023 to 31/10/2023 and has now finished.
32 people signed this ePetition.