After US orders China's Houston consulate closed, Beijing accuses law enforcement of 'improperly entering' premises

The Trump administration ordered the Houston consulate closed this week, saying Chinese agents tried to steal medical and other research in Texas

The Associated Press July 26, 2020 08:31:36 IST
After US orders China's Houston consulate closed, Beijing accuses law enforcement of 'improperly entering' premises

Beijing: China’s foreign ministry complained Saturday that American law enforcement officials improperly entered its consulate in Houston, which was ordered to close in an escalating diplomatic feud.

The ministry gave no details, but US federal agents checked the consulate's doors and a locksmith was seen working on a lock Friday after Chinese diplomats left ahead of a 4 pm deadline to close.

US-China relations have plunged to their lowest level in decades amid conflicts over trade, technology, Hong Kong, spying accusations and complaints of abuses against Chinese Muslims.

The Trump administration ordered the Houston consulate closed this week, saying Chinese agents tried to steal medical and other research in Texas. Beijing responded by ordering Washington to close its consulate in the southwest Chinese city of Chengdu.

“As for the US side’s forcible entry into the premises of the Chinese Consulate General in Houston, China expresses strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition,” said a foreign ministry statement. “China will make a proper and necessary response to this.”

The statement said that the Houston consulate was Chinese property, and that under diplomatic treaties American officials had no right to enter.

In Chengdu, spectators snapped photos outside the US Consulate on Saturday as police in T-shirts and surgical masks stood on the sidewalk and the closed-off street in front of the walled compound.

A bus drove into the compound, but spectators saw few other signs of action.

On Friday, a man was detained by police after he set off firecrackers outside the consulate at about 7 pm, Chengdu police said on their social media account. It said the man was given a warning.

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