The relationship between the US and China has been strained for some time, and things don’t appear to be getting any better any time soon.
President Donald Trump has long been a vocal critic of China, whose lax labor laws and consistent intellectual property theft have made them an unrequited fiscal force within the global community, albeit in some of the shadiest ways possible.
Now, amid calls to investigate China’s COVID-19 response and their use of high-tech espionage, the US State Department is forcing the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas to close.
The State Department announced Wednesday that it directed China to shutter its consulate in Houston “in order to protect American intellectual property” and the “private information” of U.S. citizens.
The sudden action escalates tensions between two countries that have been at loggerheads in recent months over China’s strict new security law for Hong Kong, a breakdown in trade negotiations and President Donald Trump’s criticism of Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The State Department didn’t pull any punches, either.
In a statement on the closure order, a State Department spokesperson accused China of engaging “for years in massive illegal spying and influence operations throughout the United States against U.S. government officials and American citizens.”
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