Chinese citizens have allegedly lit firecrackers outside the US consulate in Chengdu to celebrate the closure of the diplomatic mission.
Footage shows a man setting off braids of fireworks as they flare up with smoke in the front-end of the building in the western city of Chengdu on Friday.
Tens of millions of Chinese web users erupted in cheer and praised Chengdu residents as ‘heroes’ while watching the event unfold during a live-stream.
Chinese citizens have been filmed camera lighting firecrackers outside the US consulate in Chengdu on Friday after Beijing ordered to shut down the American diplomatic facility
Chinese authorities took over the United States consulate in Chengdu on Monday, the foreign ministry said, days after Beijing ordered it to close in retaliation for the shuttering of its mission in Houston. Police officers march in front of the building of US consulate in Chengdu
China’s move was a response to the Trump administration’s order last week for Beijing to close its consulate in Houston within 72 hours after Washington accused Chinese agents of trying to steal medical and other research in Texas.
Social media footage shows dozens of Chinese citizens gathering outside the American consulate in Chengdu on Friday when someone set off the firecrackers.
A reporter from state broadcaster CGTN, which had been live-streaming the movements outside the mission, claimed that the fireworks were set off by citizens for a wedding.
‘There is no need for panic. Some residents are having a wedding,’ the female journalist said.
A man, who believed to have lit the firecrackers, was removed by police officers following the incident, according to an official statement.
But tens of millions of Chinese web users have praised the citizens as heroes for celebrating the US consulate’s closure with fireworks.
One commenter said: ‘Thumbs up for the guy who lit the firecrackers. What a hero.’
Another one replied: ‘Chengdu citizens are too awesome. I would have also brought champagne to celebrate.’
Chinese authorities took over the United States consulate in Chengdu on Monday, the foreign ministry said, days after Beijing ordered it to close in retaliation for the shuttering of its mission in Houston.
Earlier in the morning state broadcaster CCTV showed footage of the American flag being lowered, after diplomatic tensions soared between the two powers with both alleging the other had endangered national security.
Beijing later confirmed the consulate had closed at 10am local time.
Chinese authorities took over the United States consulate in Chengdu on Monday, the foreign ministry said, days after Beijing ordered it to close in retaliation for the shuttering of its mission in Houston. Chinese security personnel walk outside the United States Consulate
The Communist government’s move was a response to the Trump administration’s order last week for Beijing to close its consulate in Houston within 72 hours. The US’ Chengdu mission was ordered to shut in retaliation for the forced closure of Beijing’s consulate in Houston
‘Afterwards, Chinese authorities entered through the front entrance and took it over,’ the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Relations deteriorated in recent weeks in a Cold War-style standoff, with the Chengdu mission Friday ordered to shut in retaliation for the forced closure of Beijing’s consulate in Houston, Texas.
Both consulates closed 72 hours after the original order was made.
The road leading to the Chengdu mission was closed on Monday, with police and cordons blocking the way.
State media reported that staff members had left the compound at around 6 am Monday morning.
Chengdu, a major city in western China, is more than 1,680 miles from the capital city Beijing
A member of security personnel stands guard in front of the former U.S. Consulate General with the signage and plaques covered with grey material in Chengdu of Sichuan province
Over the weekend, removal trucks entered the site and cleaners were seen carting large black rubbish bags from the consulate, and on Saturday AFP reporters saw workers removing the US insignia. Police are seen marching near the United States Consulate in Chengdu on Monday
Over the weekend, removal trucks entered the site and cleaners were seen carting large black rubbish bags from the consulate, and on Saturday AFP reporters saw workers removing the US insignia from the front of the building.
Police stand guard on a road leading to the US consulate in Chengdu, southwestern China’s Sichuan province
A constant stream of onlookers in the city of 16.5 million flowed past the building over the weekend, many taking photos.
The US consulate in the city covered China’s western and south-western regions, including Tibet. Many Tibetans accuse the central government of religious repression and eroding their culture.
As the US consulate closed, crowds of local residents gathered outside, with many waving Chinese flags and taking selfies. A man holds a banner and shouts Chinese government is great is escourted by policemen in front of the US Consulate in Chengdu on July 27
Residents are seen taking photos and video as Chinese authorities prepare to enter the United States Consulate in Chengdu in southwest China’s Sichuan province on Monday, July 27
Beijing says closing the consulate was a ‘legitimate and necessary response to the unreasonable measures by the United States’, and has alleged that staff at the diplomatic mission endangered China’s security and interests.
Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters that some US staff in the Chengdu consulate ‘were engaged in activities outside of their capacity, interfered in China’s internal affairs, and endangered China’s security and interests’.
Washington officials, meanwhile, said there had been unacceptable efforts by the Chinese consulate in Houston to steal US corporate secrets and proprietary medical and scientific research.
Tensions have soared between the world’s two biggest economic powers on a range of fronts including trade, China’s handling of the novel coronavirus and a tough new security law for Hong Kong, with US officials warning of a ‘new tyranny’ from China.
Local responders claim they were not permitted entry into the consulate to respond to the fire
On Tuesday, the Trump administration ordered the Houston consulate closed within 72 hours. Pictured, a FedEx worker removes a box from the Chinese Consulate in Houston on Thursday
The last Chinese diplomats left the Houston consulate last Friday, with officials there seen loading large sacks of documents and other items onto trucks, and throwing some in bins.
Beijing said Saturday that US agents ‘forcibly’ entered the Houston consulate, which it said was ‘China’s national property’.
Its statement warned that ‘China will make a proper and necessary response in this regard’.
Nationalistic tabloid the Global Times warned in an editorial Monday that if Washington was ‘determined to push China-US ties in the worst direction… the 21st century will be darker and even more explosive than the Cold War era’.
It said the rising tensions could lead to ‘unprecedented catastrophe’.
TRUMP AND CHINA: THE ROMANCE THAT SOURED
President Donald Trump has spent most of his presidency praising Chinese President Xi Jinping, claiming they have a friendship and asserting relations between Washington and Beijing are the best they’ve been in years.
During his campaign, Trump promised that he would bring jobs back to American that were previously moved overseas to China – and after taking office his administration began hostile trade actions, including tariffs and sanctions on goods from China.
But John Bolton, who served as Trump’s national security adviser for 17 months, revealed in a bombshell book that Trump has also asked Xi to help him win reelection in November while both attended a 2019 summit dinner.
In April 2017, just three months after Trump took office, he welcomed Xi to his Mar-a-Lago resort for their first summit, which spanned two days at what Trump calls his ‘Southern White House.’
Trump and Xi have held bilateral talks four other times – During the G20 Summit in Germany in July 2017, for a State visit to China in November 2017, for the G20 Summit in Argentina in November 2018 and most recently in June 2019 for the G20 Summit in Japan.
The two have also spoken on the phone several times.
Bolton claimed in his memoir, ‘The Room Where it Happened,’ that Trump, on two occasions, went as far to encourage Xi to employ concentration camps for Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang province.
Earlier this year, Washington and Beijing struck a trade deal. The Phase 1 deal includes the U.S. cutting some tariffs on Chinese goods in exchange for China pledging to purchase American farm, energy and manufactured goods.
‘We love each other.’ Donald Trump spoke warmly of Xi Jinping as recently as January – and had him as his guest at Mar-a-Lago in April 2017
The relationship between the two has recently soured as Trump has blamed China for concealing the severity of the coronavirus threat and insists the ‘China Virus’ – as he calls it – was exacerbated by some sort of ‘coverup’ by Chinese officials.
At the same time Trump has issued praise of Xi and China for helping in stopping the pandemic, his administration has also attacked Beijing, issuing sanctions, trade restrictions, tariffs and weighing travel bans for members of the Chinese Communist Party.
Tensions reached a precipice Tuesday evening after the State Department ordered Chinese diplomats vacate China’s consulate in Houston, Texas.
But this year has seen a dramatic change both of tone and substance. Trump started by praising Xi and China for its handling of coronavirus – but as it exploded across the U.S. and both the economy and his poll numbers cratered he has changed his tune dramatically. Here is how 2020 went from ‘love’ to closing Beijing’s consulate:
January 21, 2020: ‘He’s for China, I’m for the U.S., but other than that we love each other. Our relationship with China has probably never been better. We went through a very rough patch, but it has never, ever been better.’
January 22, 2020: ‘One of the many great things about our just signed giant Trade Deal with China is that it will bring both the USA & China closer together in so many other ways. Terrific working with President Xi, a man who truly loves his country. Much more to come!’
February 7: ‘Just had a long and very good conversation by phone with President Xi of China. He is strong, sharp and powerfully focused on leading the counterattack on the Coronavirus.’
February 29, 2020: ‘China seems to be making tremendous progress. Their numbers are way down. … I think our relationship with China is very good. We just did a big trade deal.’
May 14, 2020: ‘Right now I don’t want to speak to him… We could cut off the whole relationship.’
July 14, 2020: Trump signs executive order placing more tariffs on China and ending special status for Hong Kong after Beijing imposed new security laws on the semi-autonomous region.
July 21, 2020: State Department orders Chinese diplomats and personnel to vacate consulate in Houston, Texas.
July 16, 2020: Trump administration draws up executive order banning all 92 million members of the Chinese Communist Party from traveling to the U.S.