Reality Check of U.S. Unilateral Demand for China to Close Consulate-General in Houston

Chen Zhuo
2020-07-29 17:41:52

4. False: Chinese Consul-General in Houston and two other diplomats were recently caught using false birth information at the security check of an airport in Houston to escort Chinese travelers to the gate area of a charter flight.

True: The US allegation could not be further from facts. The staff of the Chinese Consulate-General in Houston have always followed international law and American local laws when performing their duties in the US.

◆ All diplomats and consular staff must obtain identification cards from foreign affairs authorities of the host country, thus their personal information including date of birth is no secret, but open information to such authorities. This is common sense.

◆ The said Chinese consular officers used consular ID cards issued by the US State Department and entered the restricted area of the airport upon approval from the US side to take care of Chinese nationals who were taking the temporary flight back to China due to COVID-19.

5. False: There is a complete lack of reciprocity between the US and China in the treatment of diplomatic and consular staff. The US concerns over the treatment of its diplomats and consular officers in China have gone unresolved.

True: China supports and provides necessary facilitation for the performance of all lawful, normal official acts in China by foreign diplomatic and consular officers including those from the US. It is the US that has imposed unjustified restrictions on and created barriers for Chinese diplomats and consular officers in the US.

◆ The US figure far outnumbers China’s when it comes to diplomatic and consular missions and staff. China has five diplomatic and consular missions in the US, while the US has six in China. It is reported that there are more than 1,000 staff in the US Consulate-General in Hong Kong alone.

◆ China supports and provides necessary facilitation for the performance of all normal official activities in China by foreign diplomatic personnel including those from the US. A former US ambassador to China visited each of China’s provinces within his three-year term.

◆ In October 2019 and June 2020, the US made unilateral provocations by imposing restrictions on the activities of Chinese diplomats and consular officials in the US. Such restrictions are a serious violation of the relevant rules of international law and the basic norms governing international relations.

For example, all Chinese members of China’s foreign missions in the US are required to submit a written notification to the Office of Foreign Missions (OFM) of the State Department of all official engagements with any local government representatives, as well as all official visits to any educational or research institutions. Such notifications must be submitted five business days prior to the planned engagement date. All Chinese military personnel assigned to the Chinese Embassy or a consular post, as well as those temporarily visiting, are required to provide OFM notification five business days prior to any travel plan, for official or private purposes, which is in excess of a 25-mile radius of their places of work or the US ports of their entry.

In the face of the unreasonable provocations of the US, China has no choice but respond with legitimate and reciprocal countermeasures as necessary.

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