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The Trump administration ordered China’s consulate in Houston closed on Wednesday in part because Beijing may be helping to stoke racial unrest in the United States, according to expert Gordon Chang.
The Fox News Asia analyst said during an interview with the network that while the State Department said the closure was officially due to China’s “intellectual property theft” and because the government “wanted to protect the information of U.S. individuals,” there are reports that Beijing is also involved with American protesters.
“…[T]here are stories that this consulate had links with protest groups in the United States providing financial and logistical support. That’s unconfirmed,” he said.
“But, what is confirmed is that the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Communist Party’s global ties have been engaged in a malicious disinformation campaign, deliberately stoking racial tensions in the U.S.
“And, U.S. Customs has seized items coming from China this year that would be very handy for protesters,” Chang added.
The China expert did not elaborate on what those items might be.
However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced late last month that officials had intercepted 10,800 “assault weapons parts” that were shipped from China and intercepted in Louisville, Ky.
The agency said in a statement:
The shipment was seized on May 22. Officers inspected the item, which was arriving from Shenzhen, China, destined for a residence in Melbourne, Florida. The parcel was manifested as containing 100 Steel Pin Samples. This is a common practice of smugglers manifesting the contraband as a harmless or a legitimate commodity in hopes of eluding further examination.
Also, it’s not unusual for foreign intelligence services to use unrest in a target country for their country’s advantage.
In early June, Chang told Fox News that Beijing was “deliberately twisting facts” to exploit the George Floyd incident that had occurred in Minneapolis just a few weeks earlier.
“Basically what they are accusing the United States of being is racist, and they do that in so many different forms, and also, they are deliberately twisting the facts,” Chang said.
“This is just what Beijing does,” he added. “It’s a malicious disinformation campaign. And, we saw this at the beginning of February in connection with the coronavirus as well. So, it doesn’t really matter what the subject is… Beijing is going to go after us hard with the disinformation campaign.”
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ripped China for its “obscene propaganda” in the wake of Floyd’s death.
“Beijing in recent days has showcased its continuing contempt for the truth and scorn for law,” he said in a statement.
Full Statement: https://t.co/bMlZsndkrf
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) June 6, 2020
It should be noted that such ‘information warfare’ goes both ways.
The Trump administration has been open, for example, about its support for democracy protesters in Hong Kong. In November, President Trump signed legislation “to show solidarity” with them, despite the likelihood it would complicate relations with China, The Wall Street Journal said.
“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong,” the president said in a statement. “They are being enacted in the hope that leaders and representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all.”
And earlier this year, the Trump administration sought to use China’s eventual crackdown on Hong Kong as a political weapon to galvanize international support against Beijing.
As for the consulate closing in Houston, Chang says the administration should go further, including closing down a Chinese diplomatic post in New York City.
“In the affidavit which was unsealed this year, the FBI said that the Chinese ambassador Cui Tiankai and somebody from the New York consulate illicitly tried to recruit a scientist in Connecticut who was involved in molecular biology research,” he said. “So, this was obviously conduct which was inconsistent with their diplomatic status.”
He added that because of coronavirus and ongoing Chinese espionage, it appears as though Washington-Beijing trade talks are off the table for the foreseeable future.
“You, remember the 301 tariffs that President Trump imposed were for the theft of U.S. intellectual properties – meant to be a remedy. Those haven’t worked. So, trying to close consulates and other facilities: that might have more of an effect on Beijing,” Chang said.
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