China closes US consulate in Chengdu, takes over constructing

Beijing/Chengdu, July 27

China on Monday stated it took management of the US consulate in Chengdu after it was formally closed as per Beijing’s directive in retaliation to America’s transfer to close down the Chinese diplomatic mission in Houston.

“At 10 am July 27, as required by the Chinese side, the US Consulate General in Chengdu was closed,” a press launch by Chinese Foreign Ministry stated on Monday. Chengdu is the capital of southwest China’s Sichuan province.

“China’s competent authorities then entered through the front entrance and took over the premises,” it stated.

The American flag over the constructing was lowered at daybreak, in response to Chinese state-run broadcaster CCTV, and onlookers have been moved again as a heavy police presence surrounded the consulate, which Beijing ordered to close on Friday in a tit-for-tat transfer.

Last week, the US authorities ordered the closure of China’s consulate in Houston, Texas, claiming the mission had been concerned in a bigger Chinese espionage effort utilizing diplomatic amenities across the US.

The US State Department in an announcement on Monday expressed disappointment over the closure, saying the consulate “has stood at the centre of our relations with the people in Western China, including Tibet, for 35 years.”            

“We are disappointed by the Chinese Communist Party’s decision and will strive to continue our outreach to the people in this important region through our other posts in China,” the assertion stated.

Strict visitors controls have been put in place across the US consulate premises earlier than the closure.

Shortly earlier than 11 am, a number of vehicles, a white ambulance, and dozens of Chinese employees have been seen leaving the Chengdu Consulate as dozens of individuals lingered close by, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

Several facet streets, in addition to a principal street resulting in the consulate have been blocked, with dozens of policemen guarding the intersections.

Cranes hoisted containers inside the principle entrance of the US Consulate, whereas crowds gathered to witness the “historic” second, taking images and recording movies, state-run Global Times reported.

Since Saturday, folks and autos have been incessantly seen going out and in of the consulate and locals have quietly gathered behind the police cordon in entrance of the principle gate of the Consulate.

Ellen Hu, a 30-year-old Chengdu resident among the many crowd, stated her workplace opened at 9.30 am, however she had determined to attend till 10am to see the closure of the consulate.

“To witness the closure is more important,” she stated. “It only happens once in decades,” she informed the Post.

Late on Sunday evening, three semi-trucks and a crane truck entered the compound, guided by a handful of employees standing close to the gate.

The consulate, which opened in 1985, has virtually 200 workers, together with about 150 domestically employed workers.

The two international locations closed down their consulates because the ties between the world’s two largest economies reached an all-time low         Tensions have been rising between the US and China for a while. President Donald Trump’s administration has clashed repeatedly with Beijing over commerce and the coronavirus pandemic, in addition to China’s imposition of a controversial new safety regulation on Hong Kong. Washington has been essential of Beijing’s crackdown on its Uygur Muslims within the restive Xinjiang province.

There was a festive ambiance exterior the consulate constructing in Chengdu virtually as quickly because the closure was introduced on Friday. People gathered to take selfies, images and movies, with some travelling from throughout China to witness the historic occasion.

Sales doubled at an ice jelly stall reverse the consulate, in response to one in all its workers, surnamed Tang.

“I can sell about 300 bowls of ice jelly now,” she stated.

“People have even flown from Xian (in the northwest) or Hainan (China’s southernmost island) to be part of this event,” Tang stated.

Xu Junqing from the northern province of Hebei, stated he had been visiting his son in Chengdu final week and had come to the consulate on Saturday and Sunday.

“I think most people are just curious. But I think it will reopen again, because if China and the US stop cooperation, there’s no good to the whole world,” Xu stated.

The tit-for-tat consulate closures have led to a pointy deterioration in relations between the 2 international locations, however specialists stated their relationship may worsen additional.

Shi Yinhong, a professor of worldwide relations at Renmin University, informed the Post that “the US has made up its mind to deal with China in all aspects. So in the following six months, until the new President moves into the White House (after the US elections), the possibility of further law enforcement against China, including on infiltration and intelligence activities, cannot be underestimated.”

Shen Dingli, a professor on the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University, stated China-US ties would maintain deteriorating and the US presidential election would speed up the downward spiral.

“The two countries are having a deep decoupling and it’s even possible for them to break diplomatic relations,” he stated.

“It was impossible before because of globalisation but now the two countries are dramatically distancing from each other,” Shen stated. PTI

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