Editor’s note: This post was updated on July 30th, 2020.
- The United States government ordered that the China consulate in Houston, Texas, had to close by July 24, 2020.
- U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, claims that China was stealing American and European intellectual property.
- In response to the China consulate in Houston having to close, China ordered that the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, must close by July 27, 2020.
Last week, the United States government ordered China to cease all operations at the country’s Consulate in Houston, Texas, by July 24, 2020. U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, told reporters that the U.S. would, ” take actions that protect the American people, protect our security, our national security.” Pompeo asserts that the Chinese Communist Party was stealing not only American intellectual property, but European intellectual property.
In retaliation to the China consulate in Houston being ordered to shut down, China responded by ordering that the United States consulate in Chengdu, China, be shut down as well. With tensions between China and the United States rising over the course of the last year due to a trade war and COVID-19, there’s a lot of uncertainty between the two countries.
That being said, here’s what you should know about the closing of the China consulate in Houston:
Why Was the China Consulate in Houston Ordered to Close?
The closing came after the United States government claimed that the China consulate in Houston was stealing information from the United States as well as Europe. U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, stated that the Chinese Communist Party was stealing “not just American intellectual property… but European intellectual property too… costing hundreds of thousands of jobs”.
Furthermore, a spokesperson for the State Department stated that China “has engaged for years in massive illegal spying and influence operations”. There has been no word of what specific event prompted the United States to order the shut down of the China consulate in Houston.
Why Was the United States Consulate in Chengdu Ordered to Close?
According to CNN, the United States consulate in Chengdu had to close its doors on Monday due to worsening relations between Beijing and Washington. In addition, China’s foreign ministry states that it was closing the US consulate after staff there “interfered in China’s internal affairs, and endangered China’s security and interests”. The Chinese government gave the United States the same 72 hour time limit to shut down the U.S. consulate in Chengdu.
What Caused Tensions Between China and the U.S.?
While there has been conflict between China and the United States for years, tensions have only escalated over the course of the past year due to a trade war between China and the United States, and COVID-19. Things have become even more tense in the last month when a Singaporean man admitted to spying on the U.S. for Beijing while living in Washington D.C.