The Chinese Embassy in Houston has suddenly begun BURNING DOCUMENTS. The smoke from the papers being burned was so thick, area neighbors called the fire department, which was forbidden to enter Embassy grounds.
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The destruction of Diplomatic documents began after two Chinese nationals were Indicted for Espionage; stealing US Secrets about the Coronavirus Vaccine, Corporate secrets and state secrets. Japan engaged in similar burnings before Pearl Harbor attack in 1941.
The United States has ORDERED the Embassy to be closed and its staff are to LEAVE the United States within 72 Hours; by 4:00 PM this Friday!
The U.S. has ordered China to close its consulate in Houston in what a Chinese official called an outrageous and unjustified move that will sabotage relations between the two countries.
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.
“The unilateral closure of China’s consulate general in Houston within a short period of time is an unprecedented escalation of its recent actions against China,” Wang said at a daily news briefing.
Besides its embassy in Beijing, the U.S. has five consulates in mainland China, according to its website. They are in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Wuhan and Shenyang.
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.
HPD said they began receiving reports that documents were being burned just after 8 p.m. at 3417 Montrose Boulevard where the consulate is located.
Smoke could be seen and smelled from outside. Dozens of Houston first responders arrived at the scene but they did not go into the property.
“You could just smell the paper burning,” a witness at the scene said, “But, all the firefighters were just surrounding the building. They couldn’t go inside.”
A Houston police source said that the consulate and a compound on Almeda Road, where many employees of the consulate live, are being evicted on Friday at 4 p.m.
Hackers working with the Chinese government targeted firms developing vaccines for the coronavirus and stole hundreds of millions of dollars worth of intellectual property and trade secrets from companies across the world, the Justice Department said Tuesday as it announced criminal charges.
The indictment does not accuse the two Chinese defendants of actually obtaining the coronavirus research, but it does underscore the extent to which scientific innovation has been a top target for foreign governments and criminal hackers looking to know what American companies are developing during the pandemic.
In this case, the hackers researched vulnerabilities in the computer networks of biotech firms and diagnostic companies that were developing vaccines and testing kits and researching antiviral drugs.
The indictment includes trade secret theft and wire fraud conspiracy charges against the hackers, former classmates at an electrical engineering college who prosecutors say worked together for more than a decade targeting high-tech companies in more than 10 countries.
The hackers, identified as Li Xiaoyu and Dong Jiazhi, provided an officer for a Chinese intelligence service with whom they worked email accounts and passwords belonging to clergymen, dissidents and pro-democracy activists who could then be targeted. The officer gave help of his own, providing malicious software after one of the hackers struggled to compromise the mail server of a Burmese human rights group.
The two defendants are not in custody, and federal officials conceded Tuesday that they were not likely to step foot in an American courtroom. But the indictment carries important symbolic and deterrence value for the Justice Department, which decided that publicly calling out the behavior was more worthwhile than waiting for the unlikely scenario in which the defendants would travel to the U.S. and risk arrest.
Senator Marco Rubio put it bluntly:
“China’s consulate in Houston is not a diplomatic facility. It 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.This needed to happen.”
It is worth pointing out that in December, 1941, the Japanese Embassy began burning documents too, as seen in this photo from that year: