Three days after the announcement of the closure of the US consulate in Chengdu, China announced on Monday that it had taken possession of the diplomatic building in retaliation for an identical US operation.
Chinese officials attacked the US consulate in Chengdu on Monday, July 27, shortly after ordering the resignation of Washington employees and ending a section on mutual sanctions in the Cold War.
In a brief statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed the closure of the consulate and said China had “taken possession” of the building at 10 a.m. local time.
>> To read: Closing the Chinese Consulate in Houston: espionage deal or election maneuver?
The inauguration in 1985 became the US consulate in Chengdu the last topic on Friday in a long list of disputes between Beijing and Washington, when China ordered the order to close, a move that was the communist regime’s response to the shutdown. forced from its Houston consulate in the United States by the Trump administration, amid Cold War-style espionage charges.
The closure of the US Consulate in Chengdu, a symbol of escalating tensions between China and the US
“It looks a lot like a new Cold War that would be motivated more by commercial than ideological issues and that does not involve blocs like during the Cold War as we felt it,” the great reporter Cyril Payen explained on Monday in France 24.
“China’s National Property”
Very symbolically, the US star and spangled banner had been sunk into the diplomatic complex shortly before, according to pictures on Chinese television. Unlike in previous days, foreign journalists were not allowed by US forces. to approach the diplomatic mission.
“In China, all eyes are on Chengdu”
A little earlier, the employees left the diplomatic composition on foot. Some carried a pack on their backs while others pressed their bikes in their hands. The day before, a bus with tinted windows had left the diplomatic association for some of the public.
Beijing protested after the forced entry of US agents on Friday after the dismantling of Chinese officials. This building is “China’s national property,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, citing international law.
Photos, flags and names of birds
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the Chinese consulate in Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, was a “hub for espionage and theft of intellectual property.”
“Some employees of the US consulate in Chengdu have engaged in activities outside their jurisdiction, interfering in China’s internal affairs and threatening security and Chinese interests,” he accused of his Chinese diplomacy.
These reciprocal reprisals are taking place in the context of the deterioration of Sino-US relations, where the stalemate has multiplied in recent months: repression in Hong Kong with the entry into force of a controversial security law, the Covid-19 pandemic and tensions in the South China Sea in particular.
Other lawsuits have surfaced in recent months, particularly in the case of Huawei, “the Chinese telephone giant prevented by the US administration,” said Cyril Payen. The journalist also quotes the “Uyghur issue”, which has recently provoked international reactions. “Even the French, who are shy enough to condemn Beijing’s human rights abuses, have risen to the plate,” adds Cyril Payen.
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Before it closed, the Chengdu Consulate was an attraction on Sunday for residents of the southwestern metropolis of China.
Under a blue sky and suffocating heat, an endless stream of curious people came to be photographed in front of the building. Some waved a Chinese flag, AFP reporters stated.
Four more consulates in China
A certain tension was evident within the security forces, which did not tolerate any provocative gesture or overly obvious sign of joy at the departure of the Americans. A young man shouting “I am Chinese! Go China!” thus, two police officers were evacuated from the premises.
AFP journalists also saw a banner confiscated by security. But a local resident was able to display an impressive Chinese flag on his balcony and shout the name of his country, while some foreign reporters have wiped the birds’ names.
In addition to its embassy in Beijing, the United States now has four consulates in mainland China (Canton, Shanghai, Shenyang, Wuhan) and one in Hong Kong, an autonomous territory that was shaken last year by monster demonstrations against the central government.
Beijing then saw Washington’s hand behind the unrest. Chinese nationalists last week demanded the closure of the US consulate in Hong Kong.