The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is reportedly refusing to commit to closing its consulate in Houston tomorrow after the United States ordered it to close because it was allegedly involved in criminal activity against Americans.
“The head of the Chinese Consulate in Houston won’t commit to closing the office — a direct threat of defiance to the State Department’s demand that it be shut down by Friday,” Politico reported. “Cai Wei, the Chinese Consul General in Houston, said China is protesting the closure order and his office will remain open ‘until further notice.'”
“We think that the demand from the U.S. side … is not according to the Vienna convention on consular affairs and also is not according to international practice or [diplomatic] norms, and it violates the China-U.S. consular treaty,” Cai said. “We prepared for the worst scenario but we’ve also launched a strong protest … so we urge the U.S. to abandon and revoke that wrong decision.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News during an interview on Thursday that he’s “very confident that we will proceed in a way that makes clear that it’s not okay to use your diplomats to engage in industrial espionage.”
“It’s not okay to steal intellectual property,” Pompeo continued. “It’s not okay to engage in those kind of behaviors. That’s the reason we did it. We did it to protect the American people. And we’re going to make sure that that happens.”
When asked what will happen if the Chinese do not “physically” leave the facility, Pompeo said that he would not speculate and that the U.S. was going to make sure “that we protect the American people.”
News broke earlier this week that the consulate was forced to close after videos surfaced of Chinese officials burning classified documents, according to Houston Police.
“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.”
“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.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) suggested that the facility should be given to Taiwan, writing, “With the @StateDept ’s decision to close the Chinese consulate in #Houston because it engaged in espionage and IP theft, the city now has a consulate for the free Republic of China (Taiwan) and no consulate for the tyrannical People’s Republic of China…as it should be.”
With the @StateDept’s decision to close the Chinese consulate in #Houston because it engaged in espionage and IP theft, the city now has a consulate for the free Republic of China (Taiwan) and no consulate for the tyrannical People’s Republic of China…as it should be.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) July 23, 2020
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