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World Crowds Gather in Chengdu to Watch American Diplomats Evacuate

16:50  25 july  2020
16:50  25 july  2020 Source:   bloomberg.com

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CHENGDU , China (Reuters) - Security was tight outside the U.S. consulate in the Chinese city of It was not immediately clear how many are there now after U.S. diplomats were evacuated from China because of the At the Houston consulate, staff packed up belongings watched by jeering protesters.

(Bloomberg) -- Hundreds of people gathered outside the U.S. consulate in Chengdu on Saturday as American employees prepared to leave after China ordered the shutdown of the mission.

The U.S. emblem was removed from the building, but the American flag remained near the entrance. Police set up barricades and cut off traffic from the street in front of the building on Saturday, while dozens of security officers urged onlookers to keep moving after taking pictures and videos.

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The Chinese government ordered the U.S. consulate in Chengdu to close after the U.S. shuttered the Chinese consulate in Houston. Chinese state media said the American staff at Chengdu was given 72 hours to evacuate , the same window From diplomats to journalists and students, the Chinese

Chinese diplomats had been seen burning what appeared to be documents in the courtyard of the Houston consulate after they were ordered to leave But the closure of the consulate in Chengdu , in Sichuan Province, the westernmost of the five American consulates in mainland China, deprives the

The closure is the latest escalation in tensions between the world’s two biggest economies, a move announced after the Trump administration ordered the shuttering of the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas. That decision followed years of frustration about criminal and covert activity directed by Beijing to steal trade secrets and carry out malign influence operations across the U.S., according to three Trump administration officials who briefed reporters on Friday.

a truck is parked on the side of a road: China Orders U.S. to Close Chengdu Consulate in Retaliation © Bloomberg China Orders U.S. to Close Chengdu Consulate in Retaliation

Removal trucks arrive at the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu, on July 25.

Photographer: Bloomberg

China rejected the U.S. accusations that its consulate was a central hub of espionage, and retaliated on Friday by ordering the shutdown of the Chengdu outpost, key for watching events in Tibet, within 72 hours.

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Some held American flags as they watched workers loading belongings from the five-story China's foreign ministry announced Bejing's decision on the U.S. consulate in Chengdu in a statement. It was not immediately clear how many are there now after U.S. diplomats were evacuated from China

One of the spectators in Chengdu, who gave his surname as Wang, said he traveled two and a half hours by train to see the closure in person.

“There are so many citizens here to witness it, because people love our country and are here to support the government’s decision,” the 22-year-old said. “China wants peaceful development and a peaceful relationship with the U.S., but the U.S. is destroying it.”

Anti-American sentiment has grown in China as the Trump administration takes an increasingly combative approach toward Beijing, with both sides in conflict over issues from trade to the coronavirus. U.S. President Donald Trump has accused Beijing of causing the Covid-19 global outbreak and said that his “phase one” trade deal meant “much less” to him in the wake of the pandemic.

Still, the vast majority of people who gathered outside the consulate on Saturday were more curious than outraged. Many snapped selfies or live-streamed on their mobile phones as trucks belonging to moving companies entered and left the building. Police acted to break up the crowd from time to time.

Tight security outside U.S. Chengdu consulate after China orders closure

  Tight security outside U.S. Chengdu consulate after China orders closure Tight security outside U.S. Chengdu consulate after China orders closureCHENGDU, China (Reuters) - Security was tight outside the U.S. consulate in the Chinese city of Chengdu on Saturday as staff inside prepared to leave, a day after China ordered it to close in response to a U.S. order for China to shut its consulate in Houston.

Chinese web users also mocked the US diplomats "will lose more" as they can't stay in Chengdu anymore. China announced Friday morning that it would order the closure of the American consulate in Chengdu , a major Chinese city and the capital of Sichuan Province.

A plan is in the works to evacuate quarantined foreign diplomats from North Korea, a source inside the country has revealed, as concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus grow.

“I think many people came here to take photos and videos to post on Douyin,” said a 25-year-old woman who gave her last name as Guo, referring to the Chinese version of TikTok. “But I don’t know if the videos will be banned on the Chinese Internet soon.”

At one point, a man in the crowd attempted to unfurl a banner, but was swiftly tackled and detained by police.

Chinese state media has framed the growing conflict with the U.S. as a series of unprovoked attacks, stoking nationalism. There is a risk that encouraging people to express too much public anger could spill over into other kinds of unrest.

In 1999, Chinese protesters staged violent demonstrations outside the U.S. embassy in Beijing, infuriated by the deadly NATO bombing of its embassy in Belgrade, the capital of Yugoslavia at the time.

On social media, live-streaming by China’s state broadcaster of the entrance of the U.S. consulate’s entrance was viewed nearly 50 million times on Twitter-like Weibo. “China closes U.S. consulate in Chengdu” was one of the most popular topics on the site, with about 1.79 billion views.

Some Chengdu residents were drawn by the commotion but lamented the deterioration in bilateral relations.

“I heard about the news and came over after lunch to see what’s going on,” said one resident, whose last name is Gan. “I know there are a lot angry and nationalistic speeches online but they are not helping. It’s not sensible to just blame each other without thinking what could go wrong.”

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©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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