US orders closure of Chinese Consulate in Houston – Documents being burned in courtyard

BREAKING: Amid a heightened diplomatic and trade spat between the countries, China said that the United States had abruptly told it to close its consulate in the city of Houston, a move that Beijing said it strongly condemns, threatening retaliation.

Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the US made the demand on Tuesday and described the US move as “unprecedented escalation”.

“China demands the US revoke the wrong decision. If the US went ahead, China would take necessary countermeasures,” Wang said.

Houston police and fire officials responded to reports that documents were being burned in the courtyard of the Consulate General of China in Houston Tuesday night.

Dozens of Houston first responders arrived at the scene but they did not go into the property.

“You could just smell the paper burning,” a witness at the scene said. “But, all the firefighters were just surrounding the building. They couldn’t go inside.”

The move comes as part of the Trump administration’s offensive against the country for hiding details on human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus.

Last week, President Trump said he holds China “fully responsible for concealing the virus and unleashing it upon the world” and signed legislation sanctioning the Chinese regime for eroding Hong Kong’s democratic freedoms with an oppressive new law allowing political opponents to be extradited to Beijing for trial.