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U.S. orders China to close Houston consulate in 72 hours

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 7/22/20, 05:58 am

In an escalation of U.S.-China tensions, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the move was to “protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information.” Beijing on Wednesday called the closure an “unprecedented escalation” of recent tensions and warned of firm countermeasures, including the potential closure of a U.S. diplomatic mission in China. Before the public announcement, local Houston media reported police and firefighters responded to calls from neighbors that consular staff were burning documents in the consulate courtyard.

What exactly caused the closure? Ortagus suggested China violated the Vienna Convention, which states diplomats must “respect the laws and regulation of the receiving State” and “have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State.” However, the State Department did not elaborate.  China and the United States have recently tussled over issues of human rights, coronavirus origins, trade, and technology.

Dig deeper: Read June Cheng’s report on the U.S. government's recent spate of sanctions on China.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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    Posted: Wed, 07/22/2020 11:55 pm

    closure of the U.S. Consulate in Wuhan, China

    Now there is a place we want a consulate. NOT.

    I vote for closure.

  •  RodC's picture
    Posted: Thu, 07/23/2020 02:07 pm

     This article makes no sense without its headline. It's my understanding that headlines are often written by journalists other than the author of the article. Therefore this article's dependance upon its headline is precarious. (The article refers to "the move" which is only mentioned in the headline as "…close Houston consulate...").  I think I might benefit from an explanation of the relationship between articles and headlines. 

    Posted: Thu, 07/23/2020 02:54 pm

    Thanks for your comment; I thought the same thing: There's something lacking at the beginning. My suggestion for correction: Delete the first phrase, "In an escalation of U.S.-China tensions, ..." (The "escalation" is stated later in the article in a quote.)

    Replace the deleted phrase with an opening sentence: "In a statement [or memo, or whatever] to the [head of the Chinese Consulate], the U.S. Secretary of State [or whoever issued the order] ordered the Chinese consulate in Houston closed within 72 hours." Then amend the following statement (my addition in bold) to read: State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the move for closure was to “protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information.”