FBI focuses on China's San Francisco consulate

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics - Duration: 01:44s - Published
FBI focuses on China's San Francisco consulate

FBI focuses on China's San Francisco consulate

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is alleging that a Chinese researcher accused of visa fraud and concealing ties to the military is now holed up in China's consulate in San Francisco after the U.S. government's order to China to shut the consulate in Houston.

Matthew Larotonda reports.

The diplomatic crisis sparked by the closing of China's consulate in Houston, Texas, has now pivoted to another state: California, where the FBI says the San Francisco consulate is harboring a researcher affiliated with the Chinese military.

The FBI says it believes that a woman, Juan Tang, had served in the Chinese military but claimed she didn't on her visa application, which they say is fraud.

There are espionage concerns.

Juan worked at the University of California.

The news comes just a day after the U.S. ordered China's Houston consulate to close, quote, "to protect American intellectual property" and private information, without giving specifics.

Senator Marco Rubio, the acting chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is saying that the Houston consulate was a central node of the Chinese Communist Party's espionage and influence operations.

Firetrucks were seen at the building on reports that staff were burning documents there before closure.

China has not said how it may retaliate.

But a source had told Reuters that China is considering shutting the U.S. consulate in Wuhan, where the United States withdrew staff during the coronavirus outbreak.

There was also speculation in a Communist Party tabloid that the U.S. Hong Kong consulate could be closed, also on espionage concerns.

China's state media said in editorials on Thursday that the order to shut the Houston consulate is an attempt to blame Beijing for White House failures ahead of the November presidential election.

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