NEWPORT will cut all ties with a Chinese autonomous region which holds a dog meat festival, and will ask the UK government to support calls to end the “abhorrent” practice.

The city council condemned the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, where tens of thousands of dogs are tortured and killed each year, in a “strongly worded” letter to officials from Guangxi - which was twinned with Newport - in February.

Having been met with a “deafening silence”, councillors unanimously passed a motion on Tuesday urging the Foreign Office to take their case to the government of the People’s Republic of China.

Council leader Cllr Debbie Wilcox said the twinning arrangement, established in 1996, has been defunct for several years and confirmed it no longer stood.

While all mention of the relationship has been removed from the council’s website, work will now begin on removing any signage carrying any reference to Guangxi.


The motion had replaced one tabled by leader of the Conservative opposition Cllr Matthew Evans, which had called for the council to cut all ties with the region immediately.

Cllr Wilcox said the amendment “focused the best resources” the wider issue, adding that it would carry stronger message by engaging with the Foreign Office and the Great Britain-China Centre (GBCC).

“The GBCC work to strengthen the UK-China relationship by building trust and supporting dialogues between government, judiciary and policy makers on key rule of law and reform issues,” said the leader.

“Nothing that I suggest would strengthen the upholding of international standards, and the rule of law than by ending the abhorrent practices of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival.”

Cllr Evans said he was “annoyed” by the amendment, claiming it did nothing to address the concerns of councillors and the wider public.

His motion carried the same message as a petition signed by nearly 40,000 people calling for all ties between Newport and Guangxi to end immediately.

He asked Cllr Wilcox: “Can you guarantee that [Newport] will stop twinning with Guangxi? It’s an embarrassment to this council and this city.”

Other councillors pressed Cllr Wilcox to make a clear statement that the relationship with Guangxi was at an end.

Before the amendment was supported by all councillors, Cllr Wilcox said: “We will ensure that signage is removed. I said previously that the arrangement was defunct.

“We are not twinned with Guangxi.”

Newport officials last visited China in 1999, while Chinese representatives made their last visit to the city in 2004 for the National Eisteddfod at Tredegar House.