The Chinese Consulate in Houston, Texas has long been known as a “spy-center.” When the U.S. told them to close the facility within 72 hours, they called it a “crazy” and “unprecedented” move. Then they started burning documents in the courtyard of the facility…and refused entry to firefighters.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted that the facility has not been a diplomatic one.
#China’s consulate in #Houston is not a diplomatic facility. It is the central node of the Communist Party’s vast network of spies & influence operations in the United States. Now that building must close & the spies have 72 hours to leave or face arrest.
This needed to happen.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 22, 2020
The burning of documents at the consulate caused Houston Fire Department to be dispatched. But they had to stand outside and were not allowed to enter, according to Click2Houston.
Strange scene in Houston last night as fire fighters are told they can't enter the Chinese Consulate to fight a fire. Documents were reportedly burned in a courtyard after US govt. gave the consulate until Friday to leave the building. More @houstonchron: https://t.co/OtLWcjOeWt pic.twitter.com/1WvnyXDBDd
— Mark Mulligan (@mrkmully) July 22, 2020
China vowed to retaliate with “firm countermeasures.”
“The unilateral closure of China’s consulate general in Houston within a short period of time is an unprecedented escalation of its recent actions against China.” Wang Wenbin, Foreign Ministry spokesman
The move is certainly NOT unprecedented. The U.S. did the same with a Russian consulate in San Francisco in 2017. The Russians also burned documents before they left. They, too, were a known spy facility for years before President Trump ordered it closed, along with facilities in New York and Washington DC. Previously, no president bothered to stop the spying.
Catching up to China’s thefts and spy routine was only a matter of time.
The South China Morning Post wrote:
US State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus said China was told to close the Houston consulate to “protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information”, without giving further details.
Ortagus said the US would not tolerate Chinese violations of its “sovereignty and intimidation of our people, just as we have not tolerated [China’s] unfair trade practices, theft of American jobs, and other egregious behaviour”.
The United States has 5 consulates in China: Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang and Wuhan. It is likely China’s retaliation will include closing at least one or more of those facilities.
“This is a crazy move. The consulate general is the first Chinese CG in the United States. The US has not only asked to close it, but requested evacuation within three days. This is absolute madness. There is apparently no bottom line for some people in Washington. The current US administration is willing to do anything now.” Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of state tabloid Global Times
The US asked China to close Consulate General in Houston in 72 hours. This is a crazy move.
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) July 22, 2020
One Twitter user said it best in responding to the above tweet:
Your country has a very serious identity crisis. Mao Zedong obliterated your history, heritage and civilization. You are all suffering from Mass Existential Vacuum. CCP’s international conduct is very immature and intolerable. Hence, “OK, Kid! Pack your things and go home!” @ASRJodhpur [policy analyst]
Featured photo: Screenshot via Twitter