The United States government has abruptly ordered China to “cease all operations and events” at its consulate in Houston, Texas, escalating already heightened tensions between Beijing and Washington.
Relations between China and the United States have plummeted in the last one year, amid an ongoing trade war, the Coronavirus pandemic, and US criticism of China’s human rights abuses in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
US State Department spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus said the Chinese consulate was directed to close “in order to protect American intellectual property and the private information of Americans.’
Late Tuesday evening local time, Houston police said they responded to reports of smoke in the courtyard outside the consulate, located on Montrose Boulevard, Houston, Texas.
There also was a circulated video of officials inside the compound seemingly burning documents.