Police corral crowds as movers go away US Consulate in China

Chengdu, July 26

Moving vehicles and automobiles with diplomatic plates pulled out of a US Consulate in southwest China on Sunday, as its impending closure over rising bilateral tensions drew a gradual stream of onlookers for the second straight day.

People stopped to take selfies and photographs, jamming a sidewalk busy with buyers and households with strollers on a sunny day within the metropolis of Chengdu. A bit of boy posed with a small Chinese flag earlier than plainclothes police shooed him away as international media cameras zoomed in.

The capital of Sichuan province, together with Houston in Texas, has discovered itself within the limelight of worldwide politics as China and the US exchanged tit-for-tat orders final week to shut one another’s consulates within the two heartland cities.

Police in Chengdu have shut the road and sidewalk in entrance of the consulate and arrange metallic boundaries alongside the sidewalk on the opposite aspect of the tree-lined street.

Uniformed and plainclothes officers stored watch on each side of the boundaries after scattered incidents following the Chengdu announcement on Friday, together with a person who set off firecrackers and hecklers who cursed at international media capturing video and photographs of the scene.

A person who tried to unfurl a banner or signal late Sunday that he known as an open letter to the Chinese authorities was rapidly taken away.

Earlier, a bus left the consulate grounds and what seemed to be embassy employees spoke with plainclothes police earlier than retreating again behind the property’s stable black gates. It wasn’t clear who or what was on the bus.

Three medium-size vehicles arrived and left just a few hours later, and automobiles with diplomatic plates departed in between.

China ordered the closing of the Chengdu consulate in retaliation for a US order earlier within the week to shut the Chinese Consulate in Houston.

The US alleged that the Houston consulate was a nest of Chinese spies who tried to steal information from services in Texas, together with the Texas A&M medical system and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. China stated the allegations have been “malicious slander”.

The consulate closings have been a major escalation within the tensions between the 2 international locations over a spread of points, together with commerce, know-how, safety and human rights. — AP

People take footage as they collect exterior the US Consulate in Chengdu, southwestern China’s Sichuan province on Sunday. AFP picture

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