A State Department statement said the Chengdu consulate suspended operations at 10 a.m.
“The consulate has been at the center of our relations with the people of western China, including Tibet, for 35 years,” the statement said. “We are disappointed with the decision of the Chinese Communist Party and we will do our best to continue our outreach to the people in this important region through our other posts in China. “
The United States has four other consulates in China and an embassy in Beijing.
The American flag was lowered during the Chengdu mission at 6:18 a.m., Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said on its social media account.
Police closed an area two to three blocks around the consulate, cutting off virtually all views of the property, including the flag. A few vehicles were allowed to pass after police checks, and others could be seen moving in the distance.
The moving trucks arrived at the US consulate the day before and left a few hours later. Late Sunday evening, flatbed trailers entered the complex. One of them later appeared with a large shipping container and a crane.
Ahead of the area’s closure, the impending closure of the consulate drew a steady stream of spectators over the weekend as Chengdu, like Houston, found itself in the limelight of international politics.
People stopped to take selfies and photos, blocking a sidewalk occupied by shoppers and families with strollers on a sunny day in Chengdu City, the capital of Sichuan Province. A little boy posed with a small Chinese flag before plainclothes policemen chased him away as foreign media cameras zoomed in.
Police had closed the street and sidewalk in front of the consulate and installed metal barriers along the sidewalk across the tree-lined road.
Uniformed and plainclothes officers guarded both sides of the barriers after scattered incidents following Chengdu’s announcement on Friday, including a man who set off firecrackers and rowdies who insulted foreign media while filming. videos and photos of the scene.
A man tired of holding up a large sign on Sunday night that he called an open letter to the Chinese government was quickly taken away.
Previously, a bus left the consulate’s premises and what appeared to be embassy staff spoke with plainclothes police before retreating behind the solid black doors of the property. We didn’t know who or what was on the bus.
Three medium-sized trucks arrived and left a few hours later, and cars with diplomatic plates left in between.
The United States has alleged that the Houston Consulate was a nest of Chinese spies trying to steal data from facilities in Texas, including the Texas A&M Medical System and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. China said the allegations were “malicious slander.”