A majority of city council members in Arnhem on Wednesday approved a proposal to end the partnership which has been in place since 1999, citing China's human rights violations targeting the predominantly Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang, Dutch broadcaster NOS reported. The twinning, or sister-city, arrangements pair towns or cities in different countries to encourage people-to-people contact and cultural links as well as economic benefits. Chinese cities have more than 1,400 sister cities around the world as a means of increasing China’s soft power and global influence.
The arrangements boost cooperation and exchanges among Chinese and foreign cities under the framework of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, President Xi Jinping’s massive loan, infrastructure, and trade program that stretches from the East to Europe and other continents. The Netherlands has not formally signed on to the BRI.