The Fire

Video of Fires Burning in Bins

The Claim

US orders it to close consulate in Houston to ‘protect American intellectual property’ after officials respond to fire.

The U.S. said in a brief statement that the consulate was ordered closed “to protect American intellectual property and American’s private information.” It did not provide any details.

“The United States will not tolerate the PRC’s violations of our sovereignty and intimidation of our people, just as we have not tolerated the PRC’s unfair trade practices, theft of American jobs, and other egregious behavior,” the statement from State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.

Houston police and fire officials responded to reports that documents were being burned in the courtyard of the Consulate General of China in Houston Tuesday night, according to the Houston Police Department.

“You could just smell the paper burning,” a witness at the scene told KPRC 2. “But, all the firefighters were just surrounding the building. They couldn’t go inside.”

The Counterclaim

Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin condemned the action, which comes at a time of rising tensions between the world’s two largest economies. He warned of firm countermeasures if the U.S. does not reverse its decision.

Wang accused the U.S. of opening Chinese diplomatic pouches without permission multiple times, confiscating Chinese items for official use and imposing restrictions on Chinese diplomats in the U.S. last October and again in June. He also said that U.S. diplomats in China engage in infiltration activities.

“If we compare the two, it is only too evident which is engaged in interference, infiltration and confrontation,” Wang said.

Senator Rubio

"Houston is the central node of the Communist Party’s vast network of spies & influence operations in the United States. Now that building must close & the spies have 72 hours to leave or face arrest."

But why an issue just now?

Trademarks

I suspect those will be rescinded.

Three Facts

  1. China was burning documents last night at the consulate in Houston
  2. Today Trump closed the consulate
  3. It was the US's first closure of a Chinese consulate but other countries have been involved in closures

Speculation

RECOMMENDED ARTICLES

Everything else is speculation. 

Rumors and opinions are flying. It is very difficult to ascertain what is going on. 

Accusation

Counter Accusation

The rebuttal many made: "Something to hide?"

Questions?

  • Was China burning papers because they got wind of the closure? If so, how did China get wind of the closure?
  • Was China burning papers because the U.S. opened Chinese diplomatic pouches without permission? If so when and how did that happen?
  • If China has been spying for decades and Houston is the hub, why this action now?

Retaliation

Timing 

The timing of this event is very suspicious. And one can add that to the fact list as well. 

Word of the Day

Beijing said the U.S. closure was "unprecedented" escalation.

That word keeps popping up over and over and over.

Whom to Believe?

  1. We have no reason to believe anything China says.
  2. We have every reason to mistrust Trump's motives, timing, and related statements, even assuming the overall espionage charge is true.

Mish