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Zurich cuts support for Chinese sister city

Kunming, Zurich's Chinese sister city, will receive less money in future Keystone

Zurich has decided to scale back ties with its Chinese sister city, Kunming, in Yunnan province. The decision comes after the local branch of the Swiss People's Party accused a local councillor of corruption.

The Zurich council voted to trim its grant to the city by more than half after scrutinising its long-running partnership with Kunming. Funding will be cut from SFr2.4 million to SFr1.3 million over the next three years.

The decision comes after the People’s Party accused Zurich councillor, Thomas Wagner, of corruption, fraud and cronyism in his dealings with Kunming. He denied the accusations.

The Council rejected calls by the People’s Party to set up a parliamentary inquiry to probe the nature of ties between the two cities. But it criticised the financing arrangements, saying they were not transparent enough and that insufficient information had been provided about where the money was going.

However, it admitted that it had failed to react sufficiently to information that was provided.

Announcing the decision, officials in Zurich were anxious to stress that relations between the two cities are strong and will continue. In practice, however, the effect of tightening the purse strings will be to whittle down the “partnership” to little more than cultural ties.

The partnership between Zurich and Kunming dates back to 1982. Over the years, Zurich has funded several projects and provided substantial sums to promote ties between the two cities.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR