12:08 GMT15 August 2020
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    The US Consulate General in the Chinese city of Chengdu was shut down on 27 July following an order from Beijing, according to the country's Foreign Ministry.

    Beijing lambasted the US’ "reckless provocation of confrontation" after ordering the closure of the American Consulate in Chengdu for meddling in its internal affairs.

    The statement comes after the US administration ordered to close the Chinese Consulate in the state of Texas, accusing China of stealing American intellectual property.

    In a reciprocal response, Beijing ordered the closure of the US Consulate.

    Last week, the US Justice Department accused the Chinese Consulate of illegal activities, including massive spying and influence operations in the United States.

    China has denied the allegations and criticised the United States for various violations of international law. Beijing also said that the United States has been inciting hatred towards Chinese nationals, resulting in multiple threats being made to its embassy in Washington.

    Fabio Massimo Parenti, an Italian geopolitical scholar who teaches at a university in Beijing, believes that "this is the last step of an irresponsible attitude of US authorities" who "keep accusing China of everything without proof".

    "They sanction firms and do everything possible to distract public opinion from their own internal disasters, inability to handle the epidemic situation and incapacity to readdress their economy, totally controlled by a bunch of financial firms. [...] It is not new for the US to artificially build an enemy to justify its domination policies and attitudes, however, when you deal with 20% of world population, you play with fire, going against the interests of the international communities", Parenti suggests.

    The scholar further added that even a "baby understands" that a peaceful cooperation between China and the US "should be the priority for all responsible people in the world".

    "It is a matter of international responsibility and mutual interests. Nevertheless, Trump’s administration is feeding, foolishly, a new cold war for its own ineptitude, for the interests of a few. If this is the outcome of representative democracy logic (risking world conflicts for electoral reasons), the said system is a complete failure, at least in the US guise. Luckily enough, China is showing high responsibility, thinking about retaliation in a careful way, avoiding repaying US with the same coin", Parenti elaborated.

    On 21 July, the Justice Department unveiled an indictment against two Chinese hackers who allegedly targeted companies in at least ten countries.

    China’s Consul General of Houston Cai Wei commented on the matter, saying he was "quite surprised" to learn that Washington had ordered closure of the Houston consulate and added that the United States had provided no evidence of alleged espionage activities to corroborate the eviction.

    US-China relations have significantly soured in the past few years, with Washington accusing Beijing of unfair trade practices, a poor response to the coronavirus outbreak, human rights violations, and unwarranted territorial disputes with neighbouring countries. China has denied the accusations.

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    closure, consulate, US consulate, China, United States
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