A Fiery Closure to the Chinese Consulate
“We announced the closure of the Chinese Consulate in Houston because it was a hub of spying and intellectual property theft,”Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Chinese Consulate General in Houston, Tx. (Closed)
The Chinese Consulate general in Houston had a jurisdiction that included Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Once operations at the consulate officially ended, all work originally undertaken by the consulate general in Houston, was delegated to the Chinese Embassy in the United States, located in Washington, D.C. For people in Houston who have personal matters or business with China, the closing has created inconveniences, and delays. Given the size of the Chinese-American community in Houston and the importance of Houston to global trade, the prolonged situation has certainly created challenges.
Chinese Response to the Forced Closure
Passport and Visa Office of China Consulate
The Chinese consulate also permitted small businesses in the Houston area to provide faster and higher quality service at more competitive rates than could be offered by non-local businesses offering competitive services. By doing so, the Chinese consulate generated business for many local businesses, including restaurants, hotels, and catering services. For these reasons, many in Houston’s Chinese and business communities would like to see the Passport and Visa office of the Chinese Consulate General in Houston reopen.
When Should The Chinese Consulate Reopen?
A Reopening Date?
When will the Chinese Consulate in Houston Reopen? At a time when U.S. and Chinese relations are struggling, people are demanding answers from the Biden administration on what they are going to do prevent a Chinese invasion into Taiwan, reduce the U.S. trade deficit with China, encourage China’s reduction of greenhouse emissions, and limit China’s global influence. The Biden administration has also been criticized as being unable to speak to China from a position of strength. At this time, China feels they have a stronger hand in negotiations, and this will fuel more debate between the U.S. and China. Therefore, serious discussions regarding the reopening of the Chinese consulate in Houston are unlikely to take place for several years.
Q & A
The Chinese Consulate in Houston opened on November 20, 1979.
On Wednesday, July 20, 2020, the U.S> State Department ordered the Chinese government to close the Chinese consulate in Houston within 72 hours. Calling the Chinese Consulate, a center of malign activity, the State Department indicated that the closure was needed to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information.
The CIA has long maintained that China funds an aggressive campaign to steal any U.S. technology that is superior to their own. In 2018, three scientists were fired from MD Anderson after reports that they had received unreported income from China. Later, the Trump administration alleged that China was actively pursuing coronavirus vaccine secrets from MD Anderson. The U.S. State Department also alleged that Chinese spies are actively trying to infiltrate the Oil and Natural Gas Industry. Prior to the consulate closure, Trelleborg Offshore, a Houston-based U.S. subsidiary of the Swedish engineering giant Trelleborg that makes drilling equipment for the oil industry was the victim trade secret theft.
In a retaliation for closing the Chinese Consulate in Houston, China Ordered the U.S. to close its Chengdu Consulate.
With strained relations and differences on trade, defense, and climate, serious discussions regarding the reopening of the Chinese consulate in Houston are unlikely to take place for several years.
The Chinese embassy, located in Washington D.C., will temporarily take over consular activities that were previously performed in Houston, Tx. The Chinese Embassy can be reached by calling 202-495-2216.