A spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry has blamed alleged bomb and death threats made against the country’s embassy in Washington, DC on the US government.
The US’ order that the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas be closed represents an “unprecedented upgrade” in “political oppression” against China, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying tweeted on Wednesday, adding that the embassy in Washington has received bomb and death threats “as a result of smears and hatred fanned up by the US government.”
As a result of smears & hatred fanned up by the #US gov, the Chinese embassy has received #bomb & #DeathThreats.
“Infiltration and interference is never in the genes and tradition of China’s foreign policy,” Hua added, noting that while Chinese diplomats are “promoting mutual understanding and friendship, the US embassy in China publicly attacks China’s political system.”
If the US does not revoke its “erroneous decision” to shutter the consulate, “China will surely react with firm countermeasures,” Hua said in a separate tweet.
On Tuesday, Washington gave Beijing 72 hours to shut its Houston consulate. The news leaked to the public when the local fire brigade responded to reports of a large blaze in the consulate’s courtyard, as diplomats destroyed documentation and potentially sensitive materials.
US State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said the move against the consulate was made to ensure the protection of American intellectual property and the personal data of US citizens.
While Beijing has not officially commented on possible retaliatory measures, Reuters reported that the Foreign Ministry was considering shutting down the US consulate in Wuhan, citing a person familiar with the matter.
The closure order mirrors the tactic used by both the Obama and Trump administrations against Russia, which saw a spiral of expulsions, seizures of properties, and closures of diplomatic offices. The US cited alleged Russian “meddling” in US elections and the “highly likely” UK claim of a chemical attack in Salisbury in 2018, offering no evidence of Moscow’s involvement at any point.
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