Canceled: California Commissioner Axed For Saying ‘China Virus’ Questioning Partnership With Chinese City

Anaheim, California, is the home to the “happiest place on Earth” – Disneyland.

But the City Council there was very unhappy because of a commissioner’s accurate but politically incorrect labeling of COVID-19. Accordingly, he has been canceled.

The Epoch Times reported Wednesday that the council had appointed resident Larry Larsen to a panel called the “sister-cities commission.” The board works “to develop Anaheim’s cultural and economic relationships with international cities,” the Times noted.

That would be an important body for a city that relies heavily on international tourism.

But Larsen ran afoul of the council by branding COVID as the “China virus.”

Larsen’s troubles began beck in February when Anaheim was considering a “sister city’ invitation from Pudong, China.

Pudong is the area containing Shanghai, which is the home of a Disney resort. To some, that connection made for a natural and acceptable link. In fact, the Times described the cities as having a “friendly” relationship, albeit not completely “sisters.”

Larsen thought it was nuts.

“I am stunned that anybody in Anaheim would consider such a thing,” Larsen said of a potential partnership with Pudong.

When another commissioner brought up the virus, Larsen added, “It’s called the China Virus. The City of Anaheim is in the tank, and we’re going to invite them into our house?”

A third commissioner tried to steer away from the “political” tenor of the debate. Which led Larsen to reply: “I’m blown away that this city has taken that invite from China. And now we’re going to smack happy with these people? I’m absolutely stunned.”

Larsen pointed out that Pudong shunned Anaheim for six years because a former mayor had favored a relationship with the Dalai Lama. Once the mayor was out, the Chinese were back.

When the issue surfaced again at a meeting in March, the Times reported, Larsen unloaded again.

“Our kids have been out of school for a year; the people are unemployed, the city for all intents and purposes is teetering on bankruptcy—and we want to court these people?” he said at the time. “It makes no sense to me at all. I can’t believe that anybody would even want to do that.”

Although some on the panel argued that Larsen should not blame Pudong for the acts of China’s rulers, Larsen found an ally, another commissioner who agreed it was inappropriate for Anaheim to partner with the communist government.

“Well, if Pudong, out of a gesture of friendliness or kindness or whatever word you want to use, wants to write a check for $150 million to Anaheim to reimburse us for the damage that’s been done, I would probably look kindly on that,” Larsen said.

Larsen appeared to have won, as the session ended with the cities remaining “friendly” and not “sisters.”

But then the City Council took up the issue.

One councilman was so disgusted that he refused to say Larsen’s name during the meeting and suggested that Larsen “is not worth the dignity of having their name announced” when the council debated his comments. The council member called for Larsen to be removed. Another demanded that he apologize. The mayor said he didn’t “speak for or reflect” the city. 

Ultimately, the council voted unanimously to remove Larsen.

One councilwoman told the Times, “While I believe that we all deserve an opportunity to learn and grow from our mistakes, it should not be at the expense of our community.”

It was unclear how not partnering with Pudong was different than having been ignored by the Chinese province for six years.

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