Published On: Sat, Jul 25th, 2020

Chinese consulate in Houston stormed by state department over spying fears | World | News


US officials prised open a small back door having previously tried to gain access via three other entrances. The consulate was ordered to close on Wednesday by the Trump administration which said it was seeking to protect American intellectual property.

This raised fears of espionage though its unknown whether any was being carried out in the Houston consulate.

Officials entered the consulate 40 minutes after the 4pm local time (10pm BST) deadline yesterday.

Before leaving Chinese consulate staff were seen burning what appeared to be documents in the building’s courtyard.

China reacted with fury to the move and ordered the US consulate in Chengdu closed as retaliation.

READ MORE: ‘It’s lunacy!’ Nick Ferrari rages at UK’s £71m foreign aid to China

The building, situated in Houston’s western Monroe district, had been used as a Chinese consulate for four decades.

Separately on Tuesday the US Justice Department indicted two Chinese nationals accused of hacking, which it said had targeted American companied involved with coronavirus research.

Federal authorities allege the suspects stole “business proposals and other documents concerning space and satellite applications” from a Texas technology firm.

In total 25 targets, both inside and outside the US, were targeted by hacking according to the indictment.

READ MORE: Brexit Britain has ‘greater liberty’ to fight China outside EU 

Relations between the US and China have collapsed over the past few months over a number of issues.

The two countries have clashed over COVID-19, trade, espionage, Hong Kong and China’s treatment of its Ugyhur minority.

Washington condemned a decision by Beijing to imposed new security laws on Hong Kong which greatly eroded the city’s autonomy and meant its citizens could be tried for sedition over anti-government activities.

In response to the decision, which the US says broke the 1984 Sino-British handover treaty, the Trump administration withdrew Hong Kong’s special trading privileges in America.



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