China slams US order to shut consulate in Houston

Such a move "seriously violates international law and basic norms governing international relations, seriously violates the bilateral consular agreement between China and the US...

China strongly condemned the US order to close the Chinese Consulate General in Houston, saying the move was a political provocation unilaterally initiated against China by the US side.

On July 21, the US side abruptly asked the Chinese side to close its Consulate General in Houston. Such a move “seriously violates international law and basic norms governing international relations, seriously violates the bilateral consular agreement between China and the United States, and deliberately undermines Sino-US relations. It is outrageous and unjustified,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a regular press conference.

US State Department confirmed the decision and said the move was made “to protect American intellectual property and American’s private information.”

“China urges the US side to immediately revoke the wrong decision, or China will definitely make legitimate and necessary reactions,” said Wang.

For a period of time, the US government has repeatedly shifted blame to the Chinese side, stigmatized and attacked China, made unprovoked attacks on China’s social system, and deliberately put obstacles in the way of Chinese diplomatic and consular staff in the United States. In the meantime, the US side has also intimidated, interrogated Chinese students studying in the United States, confiscated their personal electronic devices, and even detained them for no reason, noted Wang.

“The unilateral closure of China’s Consulate General in Houston within a short period of time is an unprecedented escalation of its recent actions against China,” said Wang.

“The Chinese diplomatic missions in the United States have always been committed to promoting mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese and American peoples,” said Wang, noting that China has always adhered to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

In accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, China has facilitated the performance of duties of US diplomatic agencies and personnel in China, he said.

In contrast, the United States has imposed unwarranted restrictions on Chinese diplomats in the United States twice — in October last year and June this year, and even opened Chinese diplomatic bags privately on many occasions, and seized Chinese official supplies, Wang noted.

Due to the US’s recent stigmatization and incitement of hatred toward the Chinese side, the Chinese Embassy in the United States has received bomb and death threats against its diplomatic agencies and personnel in the United States.

The Visa Office of the Chinese Embassy to the US reported receiving a bomb threat from an unidentified number on Monday, China’s news website the Paper reported.

Bomb threat at embassy

According to the Paper, the caller dialed the office’s telephone number several times and hung up immediately after an official picked up.

In the final phone call, the caller, purportedly male, asked whether he had reached the Chinese Embassy visa office. When an officer on duty replied affirmatively, he went on to say “Do you know what’s in your lobby?” before mimicking the sound of an explosion and hanging up.

Chinese Embassy to the US received a death threat mail on March 21 this year, the Paper reported quoting source familiar with this matter. The number of insulting mails received by the embassy also surged recently, said the source, adding the Chinese embassy and consulates in the US have reinforced its security measures accordingly.

Wang added that the website of the US Embassy in China has often publicly published articles attacking China. He said the facts are clear who are interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and who are engaging in infiltration and confrontation.

Wang said the US side claims that there is no reciprocity in the US-China relations, but this is just an old and meaningless excuse of the United States. He stressed that “in fact, in terms of the number of diplomatic and consular missions in each other’s country and the number of diplomatic and consular personnel, the US side far exceeds China.”

“We urge the US side to immediately withdraw this erroneous decision. Should it insist on going down this wrong path, China will react with firm countermeasures,” Wang said.

The Chinese Consulate in Houston was opened in 1979, the first in the year the US and the People’s Republic of China established diplomatic relations.

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