US orders China to close its consulate in Houston

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States has ordered China to close its consulate in Houston in the latest escalation of tensions between the world’s largest economies. The move came as the Trump administration steps up actions and rhetoric against China that have increased since the outbreak of the coronavirus but also picked up steam since Beijing’s moves to curtail freedoms in Hong Kong. The State Department said it ordered the consulate closed “to protect American intellectual property” and the private information of Americans. That followed a series of allegations that Chinese agents were seeking to steal U.S. medical data from faciliites in Texas. China strongly condemned the move and warned of firm countermeasures.