US agents enter Chinese consulate compound in Houston after deadline for closure passes

On Friday, US federal officials forced their way into the Chinese consulate in Houston. They were accompanied by local authorities and a locksmith van. This comes after the facility was accused of being involved in unlawful activities and was asked to shut down. 

Officials spoke with the news media and told them that the diplomatic facility is implicated in trying to gather US private and public data through the Texas research institution. The officials further informed that they believe the consulate is involved in a bigger project of Chinese espionage. 

An official from the US Department of Justice said, “Consulates have been giving individuals in that network guidance on how to evade [and] obstruct our investigation.”

The American government had asked the consulate to cease all their events and operations within 72 hours from Tuesday.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry states that the decision was an act of escalating aggression. Diplomatic and business relations between the US and China have been on a downward trajectory since last year. The sensitive topics between the two countries include the human rights issue in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, and the COVID-19 pandemic.