The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) retaliated against the United States late on Thursday night in response to the U.S. forcing China to close its consulate in Houston over allegations of criminal activity.
China ordered the U.S. to close its consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu, which is the westernmost of America’s five consulates in China.
“China just informed the #US side of its decision to withdraw its consent for the establishment & operation of US Consulate General in Chengdu. The US Consulate General in Chengdu must cease all operations & events as required,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Director General Hua Chunying. “This is a legitimate & necessary response to the unilateral provocative move by the US to demand the closure of China’s Consulate General in Houston.”
This is a legitimate & necessary response to the unilateral provocative move by the US to demand the closure of China's Consulate General in Houston.
— Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) July 24, 2020
China’s move came despite the fact that they did not make any allegations of improper conduct by any American working at the consulate.
“Based on FBI investigations, it is clear PRC Consulate Houston officials were deeply involved in attempts to illegally transfer research from Houston-area institutions, including cutting-edge medical research, to China,” the State Department said in a fact sheet. “Consulate officials attempted to hide their contacts with Houston-area researchers and told employees of Houston-area institutions to stop communicating with them through their work email addresses.”
“Since 2009, the Houston Consulate targeted more than 50 Houston area researchers, professors, and academics for participation in Chinese talent plans,” the document added. “Most of those individuals failed to disclose their affiliation with the Chinese government through the Chinese talent plans.”
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the FBI has interviewed suspected members of the People’s Liberation Army in more than 25 cities:
FBI agents have interviewed Chinese researchers suspected of being undeclared members of the People’s Liberation Army in more than 25 cities, according to some U.S. officials. In some instances, staff at Chinese consulates helped instruct some researchers on security, reminding them to delete information from their electronic devices, the officials said.
“China’s Houston consulate is a massive spy center, forcing it to close is long overdue,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said in a tweet, later adding: “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.”
A report from earlier in the day on Thursday suggested that Chinese officials had refused to commit to closing their consulate in Houston as Cai Wei, the Chinese Consul General in Houston, said that it would remain open “until further notice.”
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