Amid worsening relations between Beijing and Washington, the United States consulate in the Chinese city of Chengdu officially closed Monday morning.
The American flag over the building was lowered at dawn, according to Chinese state-run broadcaster CCTV, and onlookers were moved back by police surrounding the consulate as it prepared to shut.
Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday informed the U.S. Embassy in China of its decision to withdraw its consent for the establishment and operation of the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu. The ministry also made specific requirements for ceasing any operations and events by the Consulate General.
Beijing ordered the US embassy to close on Friday in a tit-for-tat move, after Washington instructed China’s consulate in Houston, Texas, to cease operations, claiming it had been involved in a US-wide Chinese espionage effort.
The Chinese government gave the Americans the same 72-hour time frame to close their Chengdu mission as Beijing had been given in Houston last week.
As that deadline expired, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Monday that the Chengdu consulate closed at 10 a.m. “Relevant Chinese authorities then entered from the main entrance and took over,” the ministry said in a statement posted on Chinese social media platform Weibo.