US Government Orders Chinese Consulate in Houston to Close
The United States government has ordered the Chinese Consulate General in Houston to close by Friday, a sharp escalation in the ongoing tension between China and the United States.
The order was issued on late Tuesday night. The State Department, in a statement issued early Wednesday, stated that :
"We have directed the closure of [People's Republic of China] Consulate General Houston, in order to protect American intellectual property and American's (sic) private information.”
According to David R. Stilwell, who oversees policy for East Asia and the Pacific at the State Department, said that within the Houston Consulate General, the top Chinese official there, and two other diplomats were recently found using false identification to escort Chinese travelers to the gate area of a charter flight in George Bush Intercontinental Airport. These travelers have a history of engaging subversive actions. However, Mr. Stilwell did not provide further information or evidence to support his claim.
The Chinese government has issued a strong statement regarding this closure. In the weekly news briefing by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Wang Wenbing, the spokesperson of the MFA, said,
“It is a political provocation unilaterally launched by the US side, which seriously violates international law, basic norms governing international relations and the bilateral consular agreement between China and the US. China strongly condemns such an outrageous and unjustified move that will sabotage China-US relations. We urge the US to immediately withdraw its erroneous decision, otherwise, China will make legitimate and necessary reactions.”
He further warned the United States government,
“We urge the US to immediately revoke this erroneous decision. Should it insist on going down this wrong path, China will react with firm countermeasures.”
The Chinese Consul General in Houston also expresses his surprise through the interview with Houston local media.
"Quite surprised...I never expected [to be] treated like this, and we are coming for friendship, and for mutual understanding between China and the United States.”
The Consul General also proved that the Chinese Consulate has burned the documents, calling it standard practice.
Henry Huang is a Policy Correspondent for the National Times.