U.S. Orders China to Close Houston Consulate

U.S. Orders China to Close Houston Consulate
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Washington accuses Chinese diplomatic missions of economic espionage and visa fraud; Beijing threatens retaliation

The U.S. ordered China to shut its consulate in Houston, with officials accusing it and other Chinese diplomatic missions of economic espionage and visa fraud, an unprecedented escalation in a rapidly deteriorating relationship.

U.S. officials said Wednesday that the Houston consulate has been a focus of rising concern and has until 4 p.m. Friday to close. Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell in an interview called the order to close the Houston consulate “long overdue” and said it followed a series of malign activities including visa fraud and research theft—trends he said have accelerated since the coronavirus pandemic.

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