Government closes US consulate in Chengdu.
The Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas, has already left. A US agency in China has now been cleared in response.
China claims to have closed the US consulate in Chengdu. The authorities took over the building in the city in the southwest of the country, said a representative for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing. The deadline for eviction had expired shortly before. The US flag had been brought up on the building in the morning. The move is in response to the US government’s order to shut down its Chinese mission in Houston.
Chinese workers left the consulate early in the morning, as seen in Chinese television reports. Security forces in uniform and civilians blocked off the streets around the agency. Neither journalists nor onlookers were allowed to approach. Before that, trucks had driven away containers. Many spectators had gathered in front of the building the day before.
The US State Department said it was disappointing. The consulate in southwestern China has been at the centre of its “relations with people in western China, including Tibet,” for 35 years, a statement said. The United States would try to reach people in the region through its remaining diplomatic mission. They have an embassy in Beijing and consulates in four other cities in mainland China: Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenyang and Wuhan. There is also a consulate in Hong Kong.
The consulate, which opened in 1985, normally employed around 200 people, including around 150 locally hired Chinese workers. How many US diplomats were last in Chengdu is unclear, as the consulate may not have been fully staffed due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to unconfirmed media reports.