Manchester and the Chinese city of Wuhan are this week celebrating the 30th anniversary of their sister city relationship.
A delegation, led by Deputy Secretary General of Wuhan City Liu Zhihui and including representatives from a number of Wuhan businesses as well as a group of schoolchildren known as the ‘little diplomats’, is in Manchester to mark the anniversary.
Wuhan is central China’s biggest city with a population of almost 11 million. It is capital of the Hubei province.
The partnership, which dates back to 1986, has created business-to-business links, sporting and cultural ties and has seen a significant number of students from Wuhan studying at Manchester universities.
It was renewed yesterday, Monday 11 July, at Manchester Town Hall with the signing of a 30th anniversary action plan for further trade forums, cultural and sporting exchanges, science and technology links and a partnership on sustainable development.
A photographic exhibition of Wuhan-Manchester links, including the original signing in 1986, is on display in the Town Hall’s Sculpture Hall. It was opened this morning by Lord Mayor of Manchester Carl Austin-Beehan. Former deputy leader Kath Robinson, who was one of the original signatories, also gave a short speech.
The delegation also visited the Etihad Campus in East Manchester and the National Graphene Institute, both which were on the itinerary when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the city last autumn.
Today, Tuesday 12 July, Manchester businesses were liaising with their Wuhan counterparts in a Town Hall meeting of the Wuhan-Greater Manchester Cooperation Forum.
Deputy Council leader Councillor Sue Murphy said: “Manchester is an outward-looking international city and this long-lasting relationship between our two great cities reflects that. Our civic, cultural and business co-operation goes a long way back but as China takes its place as a major player on the world stage, the importance of such ties can only be reinforced.
“I am delighted to welcome the Wuhan delegation to Manchester to renew our friendship, and we look forward to taking the message of what Manchester has to offer to Wuhan in a reciprocal visit later this year.”