China Takes Over American Consulate In Chengdu

Daniel Fowler
July 28, 2020

China's foreign ministry said Chinese staff entered the building after the deadline and "took over".

A bus is guided out of the United States Consulate in Chengdu in southwest China's Sichuan province on Sunday, July 26, 2020.

Beijing announced the US consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu was closed as of 10 a.m. (0200 GMT) on Monday, after it ordered the facility be shut in retaliation for China being ousted from its consulate in Houston, Texas.

The deadline for the Americans to exit Chengdu has been unclear, but the Chinese consulate in Houston in the U.S. state of Texas was given 72 hours to close after the original order was made.

As the Chinese consulate closure in Houston took effect last Friday, a group of men who appeared to be USA officials were seen breaking-in to the facility through a back door.

The consulate closures are a sharp escalation of the deteriorating ties between the two countries, which were already damaged by disputes over trade and technology, the COVID-19 pandemic, China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and its new security law in Hong Kong.

"When a militant power wants to kill in great numbers, it usually succeeds", Chang told host Stuart Varney in reference to a 2018 incident in which two US airmen piloting a C-130 aircraft were injured by a "military grade" laser. "The United States is responsible for all this".

Speaking at the Nixon Library in California on Thursday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted what he said were decades of failed policy toward China.

The statement added that "China will make a proper and necessary response in this regard".

USA diplomatic officials in the Chengdu consulate issued a message for the Chinese people in its video.

"The current situation between China and the United States is something China does not want to see, and the responsibility rests entirely with the United States", the Chinese foreign ministry said in the statement.

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The US consulate was given 72 hours to close the consulate in a directive issued last Friday.

Chengdu, the capital of China's southwest Sichuan province, was an important diplomatic outpost for the U.S., covering a large swath of the country, including the controversial Tibetan Autonomous region.

The American flag was seen being taken down at the consulate hours earlier, as officials vacated the premises.

But fire crews were prevented from accessing the area.

Removal lorries were seen late on Sunday leaving the complex.

Before the area was closed, 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 worldwide 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.

The Chinese government had set the deadline for closure for Monday.

It shut after the United States alleged that Chinese spies were using it to steal data from medical facilities in Texas.

"China's response was reciprocal", said a 63-year-old local resident who gave only his surname, Yang.

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