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China Vows to Retaliate After U.S. Ordered Its Houston Consulate Closed in Response to Spying Surge

China Vows to Retaliate After U.S. Ordered Its Houston Consulate Closed in Response to Spying Surge

Chinese burn classified documents Tuesday evening at the consulate ahead of Friday’s eviction.

The Trump administration has ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston by the end of this week, a severe diplomatic step that is a response to a surge in Chinese espionage in this country.

Washington directed the closure of the consulate “to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said on Wednesday. Ortagus did not cite a specific incident that prompted the move, but she raised accusations that China violated U.S. sovereignty. The closure was announced after a sweeping indictment was unsealed in federal court in Washington state outlining years of Chinese state-directed hacking and theft of intellectual property affecting victims across the United States and in other countries.

“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. President Trump insists on fairness and reciprocity in U.S.-China relations,” Ortagus said, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

China has vowed to retaliate.

Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said China was notified Tuesday that it would have to close the consulate within 72 hours. In a regular daily news briefing, he described the action as an “unprecedented escalation” and said China would “react with firm countermeasures” if the United States does not revoke the decision.

China began preparing to leave the consulate on Tuesday evening by burning classified documents.

Police say a fire that was reported at the Chinese Consulate in Houston Tuesday evening was the result of classified documents being burned.

The call about a fire at the building located in the 3400 block Montrose came in around 8:20 p.m.

Houston fire and police departments responded to the scene but were not allowed entry into the building.

Because it is a consulate, it falls under Chinese sovereignty allowing them to deny anyone access.

Houston police tell FOX 26 that they were burning classified documents because they are being evicted from the building on Friday at 4 p.m..

It appears that there has been a massive surge in China’s industrial spying efforts in the past six months, focused on coronavirus research.

A New York Times report cites David R. Stilwell, who oversees policy for East Asia and the Pacific at the State Department. He noted that China attempted thefts have increased in the past six months and that the “Houston consul general, the top Chinese official there, and two other diplomats were recently caught having used false identification to escort Chinese travelers to the gate area of a charter flight in George Bush Intercontinental Airport. He described the Houston consulate, which he said “has a history of engaging in subversive behavior,” as the “epicenter” of research theft by the Chinese military in the United States.”

Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, a senior member of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, agreed with Stilwell’s comment.

“The CCP’s recent targeting of U.S. coronavirus vaccine research underscores the threat of this consulate’s malign activity in Houston, a biomedical research and technology hub itself. I am hopeful this action will deal a significant blow to the CCP’s spy network in the U.S. and send a clear message that their widespread espionage campaigns will no longer go unchecked,” he said in part in a statement.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who is the acting chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, tweeted that China’s Houston consulate was a “massive spy center,” and that closing it was “long overdue.”

I am sensing that the relationship between the US and China will feature more decoupling and document burning than had been previously anticipated.


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The Friendly Grizzly | July 24, 2020 at 9:18 am

Give them a citation for burning without a permit!

China ordered the US to close its consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

The Friendly Grizzly | July 24, 2020 at 9:26 am

I’d like to see China’s Modt Favored Nation status revoked.

    Wasn’t it “Slick Willie” Clinton who granted them conditional MFN trade status in 1996? I thought that was a bad idea when it was done. Then it was made permanent in 2001. Thanks a lot, W! You share in this fiasco too.

This may or many not be related but it is a big deal and anyone who uses a Garmin product (many millions of us) learned of this as soon as it happened yesterday.

If you use any Garmin GPS product, you have been KO’d since yesterday. Why is this not a big news story in the US? Most (all?) off the reporting on this seems to be from the UK.

Let’s see how many more such breeches are revealed in the next few days and whether ANY US media pick up the stories. Or maybe Facebook, Twitter etal have banned it. It’s a big deal!

    DSHornet in reply to Pasadena Phil. | July 24, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Time to teach the ignorant youth how to read a map. The Bride and I have several old issues of the Rand-McNally road atlas around the house. They’re out of date but most roads shown aren’t going anywhere. We also routinely stop at state welcome centers for the latest state maps. The Sygic navigation in the tablet and phone is a European product.

    My son was in Cub Scouts when he was young. Ten years later he went into the Army and told me how childishly easy overland navigation was for him. He said some of his buddies were so ignorant of how to do it that “they couldn’t find their own @$$ in broad daylight using both hands.”

      It’s much more than just navigation. It’s the interconnectivity that Garmin makes possible for so many online communities. We can ALL be put out of business at the flip of a switch. Who controls that switch? China? the Pentagon? Google? Is anyone even asking? I’m taking it one day at a time myself.

Can’t the fire department shoot water from the top of a ladder that doesn’t extend past the consulate wall? Asking from a point of ignorance of international law.

    Tom Servo in reply to DSHornet. | July 24, 2020 at 9:33 am

    they should bring in a helicopter with a giant dump bucket, like they do for fires out west.

    but I don’t remember anything like this happening at an Embassy since that little misunderstanding at the Japanese Embassy, in December 1941.

Or send in some of these to give them a big sploosh.

Lucifer Morningstar | July 24, 2020 at 9:39 am

The Trump administration has ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston by the end of this week, a severe diplomatic step that is a response to a surge in Chinese espionage in this country.

Good, that’s a start. But it doesn’t go far enough. Now the Trump administration needs to revoke all visas issued to Chinese nationals under the pre-text of attending educational institutions and deport them and put an end to the CCP 1,000 Talents program that siphons U.S. technology off to the CCP government for exploitation. Enough is enough and it needs to end.

Want to stop Chinese spying? Let’s send the 300K Chinese college students spies here in the US directly home.

Literally everything a Chinese company discovers can, and usually does, find its way to the Chinese government. The Chinese Communist Party hasn’t changed its basic Marxist philosophy: Take over the world for socialism. I don’t know if we’re stupid, ignorant, or our whole society is developing alzheimers.

    Lucifer Morningstar in reply to DSHornet. | July 24, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Literally everything a Chinese company discovers can, and usually does, find its way to the Chinese government

    No, the Chinese aren’t innovators. Literally everything a Chinese company or Chinese citizen steals is turned over to the CCP government for exploitation in CCP owned or subsidized factories. Again, the Chinese don’t innovate. They steal. And for decades the West has allowed them to do it. But now it’s coming back to haunt the CCP now that Trump is calling them on their shenanigans.

The last time of foreign consulate burned documents on US soil the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

thad_the_man | July 24, 2020 at 10:56 am

I do not see the big deal with burning the documents. If a US embassy comes under attack or is shutdown, we destroy many of the document. Maybe not by burning but in some way.

Though I dare say nowadays it’s much easier as the are mostly digital.

Every country does this.

“Vows to retaliate”

No thanks. You guys have already done enough in advance.

Worst Neighbor on the Planet. With apologies to all the other sh*thole countries gunning for that title.

Poor China! So bery Sad. Woo hoo!