The American flag no longer flies over the United States consulate in Chengdu, China. According to state broadcaster CCTV, it was lowered at 6:18 a.m. on Monday. State media reports that officials have vacated the premises under order of the Chinese government. China ordered the consulate closed in retaliation against the United States. Just last week, the U.S. shuttered the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas.
A consulate is an office set up in a foreign country. A nation’s government appoints its own officers to go to that foreign country and work there. Those officers communicate with the host country to work out trade and diplomatic relationships.
The dual consulate closures are like a “tit-for-tat” between the United States and Chinese government. They signify an escalation of tensions regarding trade, technology, security, and human rights between the two countries.
The United States alleged that the Houston consulate was a nest of Chinese spies. Accusations swirled that the spies tried 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 called the allegations “malicious slander.”
What does the Bible say about embittered conflict? Ephesians 4:31 instructs believers, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”
Over the weekend, Chengdu was in the spotlight of international politics. Crowds gathered and people stopped to take selfies near the consulate. Foreign media cameras zoomed in, as police shut the street and sidewalk in front of the consulate. Police officers stood guard. Barricades blocked views of the property, although vehicles could be seen moving in the distance behind multiple police lines.
Vehicles including buses, cars with diplomatic plates, and trucks hauling loaded flatbed trailers all left the complex within just a couple of days.
(Chinese police direct residents away from a neighborhood sealed off before the official closure of the United States Consulate in Chengdu on July 27, 2020. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)