July 24th, 2020
Police are taking over the Chinese consulate building in Houston, Texas after ordering China to shut it down earlier this week.
The consulate closed at 4:00 p.m. CST on Friday after the expiration of a 72-hour closure period. Video showed police surrounding the building and setting up a perimeter with barricades.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that the consulate was ordered closed “because it was a hub of spying and intellectual property theft.”
Video shows that China’s flag and consulate emblem have been removed from the building.
Police asked bystanders to leave the area unless they lived in the vicinity.
Reporters on the ground also said that a locksmith was called into so law enforcement could gain access to the building.
Live video of the scene showed U.S. State Department agents and other identified agents guarding and entering the building.
Protesters outside the consulate building could be heard shouting slogans against the Chinese Communist Party.
China had threatened non-compliance with the U.S. order to close the consulate, but video from late Thursday night showed consulate workers loading up boxes into a semi-trailer and a U-Haul truck.
On-site reporters said the building has been emptied, and not even trash cans have been left behind.