The Chinese Consulate in Houston, TX, ordered closed by the US State Department, was observed burning documents in its courtyard according to Fox News. The Trump Administration ordered the shutdown of the consulate after accusing it of theft of American intellectual property and private personal information of American citizens.
The Houston consulate was closed to protect US national security, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He asserted that the Chinese Communist Party was guilty of theft of “not just American intellectual property… but European intellectual property too… costing hundreds of thousands of jobs”. Pompeo further clarified the US position towards Beijing’s behavior. “We are setting out clear expectations for how the Chinese Communist Party is going to behave,” he said. “And when they don’t, we’re going to take actions that protect the American people, protect our security, our national security, and also protect our economy and jobs.”
U.S. Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) cited the document burning as evidence of Chinese government wrongdoing. “It’s pretty obvious that they’re not innocent in all this…the Chinese are not good actors, they haven’t been for a long time and America and the world are really just waking up to this after well over a decade of hoping for the best,” Crenshaw said. He added a warning for the future, “”We need to wake up to it and we need to realize that they do not have the same values as most people across the world. They don’t have the same values of freedom, respect for human rights, democracy, free trade…they’re acting completely irresponsibly and against all the values we hold dear.”
The Chinese consulate in San Francisco, CA was accused by the American government of harboring a Chinese national accused of visa fraud reported the BBC. The FBI charged Juan Tang, a researcher at the University of California, of lying about her connections with China’s People’s Liberation Army while attempting to procure a US visa. Tang denied any involvement with the PLA, but a subsequent investigation and search of her home found evidence that she had indeed been a member of China’s military.
Tensions have been escalating between Washington and Beijing for months. President Trump blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic, which began in Wuhan province before spreading worldwide. In response the Chinese Communist government made unsubstantiated claims that the United States was responsible for COVID – 19.
Hong Kong became another area of disagreement between the United States and China when in June Beijing imposed a new national security law designed to bring the autonomous region further under the control of the Chinese government. This came after weeks of protests by Hong Kong citizens against an earlier attempt by Beijing to tighten its grip on the region. President Trump responded to Beijing’s actions by revoking Hong Kong’s preferential economic treatment. The Chinese Communist Party has promised retaliation.