U.S. Closes China’s ‘Spy Center’ Consulate in Houston

Chinese operatives at their consulate in Houston, Texas, spent the night and day frantically burning documents and files before it shuts down shortly, according to videos posted on social media. The U.S. State Department ordered China on Tuesday to close its consulate in Houston within 72 hours.

This surprise U.S. move comes amid growing awareness of, and concern over, the massive and unprecedented Chinese intelligence operations in the U.S.

CNN reported a State Department spokesman as saying that China “has engaged for years in massive illegal spying and influence operations” and that those “activities have increased markedly in scale and scope over the past few years.”

More specifically though, reports American Military News, the order to close the consulate “comes a day after the U.S. Department of Justice charged two Chinese hackers working with the Chinese Ministry of State Security in a decade-long intellectual property theft campaign that targeted hundreds of U.S. companies and organizations.”

According to U.S. Attorney William D. Hyslop, the IP theft equated to “literally hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of trade secrets, intellectual property, and other valuable information,”, reported AMN.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told CNN the U.S. directed the closure “in order to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information.”

To emphasize the critical role China’s consulate in Houston played in China’s espionage in the U.S., Senator Marco Rubio tweeted:

Rubio also tweeted, “#China’s Houston consulate is a massive spy center, forcing it to close is long overdue.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese continue to desperately destroy incriminating evidence.

“Firefighters arrived at the Chinese consulate in Houston after witness reports that papers were being burned outside in open containers, according to local media reports, citing police,” Bloomberg tweeted with video of fire trucks outside the consulate, reported AMN.

China called the closure an “unprecedented escalation” by the U.S. and threatened to retaliate, according to the South China Morning Post.

China’s Houston consulate was the oldest in the U.S., established shortly after diplomatic ties with Red China were normalized in 1979. This fact, and its location away from Washington, DC, and near oil industry, various regional tech hubs, and NASA, could explain why it would be a center of espionage in the U.S.

Expect tit-for-tat retaliation from the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing and a further ratcheting up of tensions. However, Senator Rubio is right, this move was needed, and long overdue.

More similar U.S. actions to shut down Chinese espionage should follow.

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Paul Crespo

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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A. D Roberts
A. D Roberts
5 months ago

Just the tip of the iceberg. Why would China attack us on so many fronts when they depend on us as a market for their goods? Simple. They are atheists who only believe in POWER and their desire for that power. America has been blessed by God for over 200 years. And that only ended in the 1960’s when we, as a nation turned away from Him. Read about the judgement of Israel in the bible. It took hundreds of years to be fulfilled.
IF our nation obeys II Chronicles 7:14, we can return to His graces.

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