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United States closes consulate in Chengdu, China, after Houston order


CHENGDU: The United States says it has closed its consulate in Chengdu, China. China ordered the consulate closed in retaliation for a US order to close the Chinese Consulate in Houston last week.
A State Department statement said the consulate suspended operations at 10 a.m. on Monday. He expressed disappointment at China’s decision and said the United States would try to continue its outreach to the region through its other missions in China.
The American flag was removed at a U.S. consulate in southwestern China, according to state media, as officials leave the facility on orders from the Chinese government.
The state-run CCTV network said on its social media account that the flag was lowered at 6:18 am Monday at the US mission in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province.
Police have closed an area of ​​two or three blocks around the consulate, cutting off virtually any view of the property. Vehicles could be seen moving in the distance behind multiple police lines.
China on Friday ordered the consulate closed in retaliation for a US order to close the Chinese consulate in Houston. The eye-for-an-eye closures marked a significant escalation in tensions between the two countries on a variety of issues, including trade, technology, security and human rights.
Moving trucks arrived at the United States consulate on Sunday afternoon and left a few hours later. Late at night, flatbed trailers entered the complex. Later he came up with a large shipping container and a crane.
Before the area closed, the impending closure of the consulate drew a steady stream of spectators over the weekend when Chengdu, like Houston, found itself in the limelight of international politics.
People stopped to take selfies and photos, crowding a sidewalk filled with shoppers and families with strollers on a sunny day in Chengdu city. A small boy posed with a small Chinese flag before plainclothes police chased him away as foreign media cameras approached.
Police closed the street and sidewalk in front of the consulate and set up metal barriers along the sidewalk across the tree-lined road.
Uniformed and plainclothes officers stood guard on either side of the barriers after scattered incidents following Chengdu’s announcement on Friday, including a man who blew up firecrackers and hackers cursing foreign media filming videos and photos of the scene.
A man who got tired of unfurling a large banner on Sunday night who called an open letter to the Chinese government was quickly removed.
Earlier, a bus left the consulate grounds and what appeared to be embassy personnel spoke to plainclothes police before retreating behind the property’s solid black doors. It was unclear who or what was on the bus.
Three medium-size trucks arrived and left a few hours later, and cars with diplomatic plates left in the middle.
The United States alleged that the Houston consulate was a nest of Chinese spies trying to steal data from facilities in Texas, including the Texas A&M medical system and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center at Houston. China said the allegations were “malicious slander”.

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