China on Friday ordered the closure of the US consulate in Chengdu, days after United States ordered China to shut its Houston, Texas consulate.
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday called on “free nations” to triumph over the threat of what he said was a “new tyranny” from China.
“Today, China is increasingly authoritarian at home, and more aggressive in its hostility to freedom everywhere else,” Pompeo said. “If the free world doesn’t change Communist China, Communist China will change us,” he said at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California.
The speech marked a new level in the hard-line approach toward China by President Donald Trump’s administration.
On Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called the consulate action an “outrageous and unjustified move which will sabotage China-US relations.” And on Thursday, he said the charges against the four researchers amounted to “naked political persecution.”
“China will take necessary measures to safeguard Chinese citizens’ safety and legitimate rights,” Wang said.