Fight With China Heats Up: Chinese Consulate Gets Evicted From Houston

Written by Wes Walker on July 23, 2020

Remember how everyone laughed when Trump told us that China was a Foreign Policy priority? Has everyone stopped laughing now?

China, Trump argued, was fleecing America and stealing our technology, only to turn it against us in a battle for economic supremacy.

They tried to push some bulls**t story about Wuhan Coronavirus originating in an American lab and having been unleashed by the American military.

And now, that they’ve been busted trying to hack into top US medical research facilities, one of their centers of operation is being shut down.

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The US Government has shut down the Chinese consulate in Houston. They’ve been evicted, and have until Friday at 4 p.m. to clear out.

The United States ordered China to close down its consulate in Houston, Texas. The State Department issued a statement saying the decision was made “to protect American intellectual property and American’s private information.” — Buck Sexton

The Chinese cried out foul, naturally. We have ‘wronged’ them. Of course. But there is the curious matter of the smell of paper burning at their Consulate. What could that possibly be about?

On Tuesday (July 21) night, the Houston Fire Department responded to reports of a fire at the consulate but were denied entry. According to KPRC, Chinese officials were burning documents in the courtyard.

“You could just smell the paper burning,” a witness told the station. “But, all the firefighters were just surrounding the building. They couldn’t go inside.” — Buck Sexton

What do we know about the Houston Consulate?

Multiple U.S. officials said that the Houston consulate has long been used by the Chinese government to steal valuable medical research and that it was involved in attempts to infiltrate the oil and natural gas industries. The president has been well briefed about the concerns, they said.

Current and former U.S. law enforcement officials said that the consulate is well fortified and hardened to prevent U.S. surveillance and that it was a high-tech communications hub to coordinate and execute spying operations.

The U.S. government ordered China to “cease all operations and events” at the consulate Wednesday.

…Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, told NBC News’ Katy Tur that he wouldn’t discuss the specific intelligence behind Wednesday’s closure.

“But I can tell you for the last two years,” he said, “I and other members of the intel committee have been holding classified briefings with business leaders and academic leaders about the concerted efforts of the Chinese Communist Party to steal our intellectual property, to steal it from companies, to steal it from universities, to be on better guard.”

Warner suggested that Wednesday’s action was driven by the FBI and its intelligence. Current and former federal law enforcement officials applauded the move, saying it was a strong message that was overdue to be delivered to the Chinese government. —NBCNews

There are another two interesting twists to the story.

The fire department? They were more than happy to accept their help a couple of years back.

Almost exactly three years ago, the fire department was allowed in to put out a fire and was praised in a news release by Chinese officials.

As NBC News has previously reported, the Houston consulate — along with China’s other consulates and its embassy in Washington — has also been involved in “mask diplomacy” during the COVID-19 pandemic. With China facing criticism over the coronavirus pandemic, its diplomatic missions in the U.S. were on a charm offensive, organizing donations of medical supplies and food to communities large and small. —NBCNews