In Tit-for-Tat, China Forces Closure of US Consulate in Chengdu

In Tit-for-Tat, China Forces Closure of US Consulate in Chengdu

Mr Trump has long accused China of unfair trading practices and intellectual property theft, but in Beijing there is a perception that the USA is trying to curb its rise as a global economic power.

The closure in Chengdu comes after the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas, closed last week over claims it was a hub for spying.

Chinese authorities on Monday entered the former US Consulate in Chengdu after it was ordered to be shut in retaliation for the US closing the Chinese Consulate in Houston last week.

It says that the consulate, established in 1985, is proud to have been working hard to promote "mutual understanding" between people in the United States and people in the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Tibet, and the Chinese megacity of Chongqing.

The closures of each other's diplomatic missions puts the US-China rift into a new phase.

China's Foreign Ministry spoke of "competent authorities" having entered the premises after it was vacated by USA diplomats in the morning.

The American flag was no longer flying at the consulate having been lowered at 6:18 a.m. on Monday, according to video shot by a journalist and shared by state broadcaster CCTV on its Twitter-like Weibo account.

Chinese state media showed pictures of lorries leaving the U.S. consulate, and workers removing diplomatic insignia from the building.

That conveyed a sense of permanent rupture not felt during previous crises, including the 1999 stoning of the U.S. Embassy in response to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bombing of China's embassy in Serbia, along with the 2001 collision between a U.S. surveillance plane and Chinese fighter jet over the South China Sea.

Police asked people to move on when crowds formed outside the consulate, as onlookers took photos and videos of what they expected would be the last time to see the compound in U.S. hands. "China will make legitimate and necessary reactions", the statement said.

China lost its Houston mission last week, but still has four other consulates in the U.S. and an embassy in the capital Washington DC.

Federal Agents Now Using Leaf Blowers Like the Protesters
Portland's Wall of Moms first appeared on July 20, with around 30 women and the numbers have only grown in the following days. The Trump administration says the forces are needed in Portland to protect the courthouse and other federal buildings.

China ordered the United States on Friday to close its consulate in the western city of Chengdu, ratcheting up a diplomatic conflict at a time when relations have sunk to their lowest level in decades.

Others expressed regret at the closure.

"Some personnel at the United States consulate in Chengdu were engaged in activities outside of their capacity, interfered in China's internal affairs, and endangered China's security and interests", spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

Tension levels between the USA and China have reached new highs after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US will regard China with a new strategy of "distrust and verify" and China accused the US of backward thinking.

Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters that some USA staff in the Chengdu consulate "were engaged in activities outside of their capacity, interfered in China's internal affairs, and endangered China's security and interests".

The US consulate was given 72 hours to close the consulate in a directive issued last Friday. A few vehicles were allowed through after police checks, and others could be seen moving in the distance.

But fire crews were prevented from accessing the area.

Workers covered over the consulate signs on the wall outside shortly after the property was vacated.

The impending closure of the consulate drew a steady stream of onlookers over the weekend as Chengdu, like Houston, found itself in the limelight of global politics.

People stopped to take selfies and photos, jamming a sidewalk busy with shoppers and families with strollers on a sunny day in the city of Chengdu.

A man who tried to unfurl a large placard late Sunday that he called an open letter to the Chinese government was quickly taken away.

Related Articles