US Accuses China of Spying, Closes Consulate in Houston

Mish

Following a mysterious fire last evening at the Houston consulate, the US accused China of spying and closed the consulate.

The Fire

Video of Fires Burning in Bins

The Claim

US orders it to close consulate in Houston to ‘protect American intellectual property’ after officials respond to fire.

The U.S. said in a brief statement that the consulate was ordered closed “to protect American intellectual property and American’s private information.” It did not provide any details.

“The United States will not tolerate the PRC’s violations of our sovereignty and intimidation of our people, just as we have not tolerated the PRC’s unfair trade practices, theft of American jobs, and other egregious behavior,” the statement from State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.

Houston police and fire officials responded to reports that documents were being burned in the courtyard of the Consulate General of China in Houston Tuesday night, according to the Houston Police Department.

“You could just smell the paper burning,” a witness at the scene told KPRC 2. “But, all the firefighters were just surrounding the building. They couldn’t go inside.”

The Counterclaim

Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin condemned the action, which comes at a time of rising tensions between the world’s two largest economies. He warned of firm countermeasures if the U.S. does not reverse its decision.

Wang accused the U.S. of opening Chinese diplomatic pouches without permission multiple times, confiscating Chinese items for official use and imposing restrictions on Chinese diplomats in the U.S. last October and again in June. He also said that U.S. diplomats in China engage in infiltration activities.

“If we compare the two, it is only too evident which is engaged in interference, infiltration and confrontation,” Wang said.

Senator Rubio

"Houston is the central node of the Communist Party’s vast network of spies & influence operations in the United States. Now that building must close & the spies have 72 hours to leave or face arrest."

But why an issue just now?

Trademarks

I suspect those will be rescinded.

Three Facts

  1. China was burning documents last night at the consulate in Houston
  2. Today Trump closed the consulate
  3. It was the US's first closure of a Chinese consulate but other countries have been involved in closures

Speculation

Everything else is speculation. 

Rumors and opinions are flying. It is very difficult to ascertain what is going on. 

Accusation

Counter Accusation

The rebuttal many made: "Something to hide?"

Questions?

  • Was China burning papers because they got wind of the closure? If so, how did China get wind of the closure?
  • Was China burning papers because the U.S. opened Chinese diplomatic pouches without permission? If so when and how did that happen?
  • If China has been spying for decades and Houston is the hub, why this action now?

Retaliation

Timing 

The timing of this event is very suspicious. And one can add that to the fact list as well. 

Word of the Day

Beijing said the U.S. closure was "unprecedented" escalation.

That word keeps popping up over and over and over.

Whom to Believe?

  1. We have no reason to believe anything China says.
  2. We have every reason to mistrust Trump's motives, timing, and related statements, even assuming the overall espionage charge is true.

Mish

Comments (33)
No. 1-15
Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

War Games

South China Seas Style

I would love a peek at Pentagon's simulation if "something" were to happen in the Spratlys. Both US and China (expected) responses.

numike
numike

Nooo... China is spying on us???

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

I wish they would close all Chinese and Russian consulates and embassies and deport all Chinese and Russian nationals.

Anda
Anda

They discovered it was a republican ballot paper burning trial run ?

Augustthegreat
Augustthegreat

tRump is panicking as he is losing the re-election hope, because he has completely messed up the handling of the pandemic. The only possible way to turn around the situation is to launch a war with China or Iran. Just look at all the provocations made by the USG: demonizing China in all possible ways; killing private company Huawei and others; passing all possible laws related to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang; military provocations near Chinese coast with 2 Aircraft Carriers on a daily basis. USG has been escalating provocations against China, such that it can deflect american people's attention away from the pandemic.

Realist
Realist

Of course China spies on the US.

Just as the US spies on China. And Russia. And America’s allies. And American citizens. Not to mention that Trump even tries to get other countries to spy on his political rivals.

So why close the embassy now? Standard Trump operating procedure. The politics of hate. Focus your anger on any perceived enemy and get your base to forget about the crappy job you are doing. Plus Trump wants to blame China for his totally inept handling of the pandemic.

US cases and deaths (already very high) keep going up, while other G7 country numbers (which are already very low) keep going down. These other countries have managed to reduce numbers over 90%, while the US is out-of-control.

Webej
Webej

Interesting to hear people refer to intellectual property as "ours", as if it were some common public good.
They actually own no part of it, and are probably paying for it in many things they buy, such as pills. Most intellectual property belongs to multi-nationals that make a point of collecting or buying it and turning a profit on stuff they didn't actually invent themselves.

Stuki
Stuki

With Texas turning bluer with every new covid death, pretending to be fighting the scary Chinaman Hobgoblin who is "stealing" their oil jobs, probably seemed an appealing narrative for Trump strategists.

Never mind the only ones stealing from Americans, are those living off of theft by way of Fed debasement and asset pumping. 95+% of whom are Americans.

IA Hawkeye in SoCal
IA Hawkeye in SoCal

We are at Cold War with China, in a most twisted manner. 30 years ago we thought helping them economically (Made In China) would bring them closer to the U.S. and against Russia. We were wrong. They used it to our advantage, put their kids in our universities, and now they use it all against us. All the while we still help them (Made In China).

I've said before that history always repeats itself, and that mankind has not ended hot wars. It's only a matter of time. The United States should have some pride and dignity in itself, and stick up for itself. Have some nationalism. Remember all the propaganda posters they had around WW2, making fun of and against other countries?

This is the United States current problem, that it wants to have its cake and eat it too. You can't complain and moan about someone while you're in bed with them. There will be a day of reckoning in the future, with Russia/China/Iran against USA/Europe/Australia, and we will have to defeat the commies again to buy another 75+ years. This also conveniently eliminates the national debt, you don't owe to those you beat down anymore.

LawrenceBird
LawrenceBird

There is no reason to believe anything the US says either, regardless of Trump. US has been and likely always will be the largest spy on the planet - political/military/economic. And the reason why you don't hear much from Europe is they do exactly the same thing, especially the French wrt economic espionage.

tokidoki
tokidoki

Obviously we need to ask the Russians.

I am disappointed that Mish didn't think of that option. He's clearly slowing down ;)

Failing that, ask Hillary Clinton.

tokidoki
tokidoki

Also that recent video of the Uighurs, turned out to be from 2018. This country's final hope is a war with someone, anyone really.

njbr
njbr

How quaint! Spies...

Mr. Purple
Mr. Purple

Through the looking glass.

Can we agree that they can all go to hell?

Jmurr
Jmurr

The Chinese need to know that if anybody is going to be spying on Americans, it’s the US government.


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