The U.S. ordered China to close its consulate in Houston within 72 hours, a directive that prompted people to begin burning documents in the building’s courtyard. The move was called “unprecedented escalation” in bad relations between the U.S. and China by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin. China has said it will retaliate.
Bloomberg reports: “The U.S. government gave China three days to close its consulate in America’s fourth-most populous city in an ‘unprecedented escalation,’ Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular briefing Wednesday in Beijing. China planned to ‘react with firm countermeasures’ if the Trump administration didn’t ‘revoke this erroneous decision,’ Wang said.”
Click2Houston reports: “The U.S. said in a brief statement that the consulate was ordered closed ‘to protect American intellectual property and American’s private information.’ It did not provide any details. ‘The United States will not tolerate the PRC’s violations of our sovereignty and intimidation of our people, just as we have not tolerated the PRC’s unfair trade practices, theft of American jobs, and other egregious behavior,’ the statement from State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.”
Bloomberg adds: “On Tuesday, the Justice Department accused two Chinese hackers of working for Beijing to steal or try to steal terabytes of data, including coronavirus research, from Western companies in 11 nations.”