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China’s consulate in Houston cleared out ahead of eviction

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HOUSTON (Net) — Consular officials departed the Chinese consulate in Houston on Friday afternoon after the Trump administration ordered the facility to shut down.
Vans bearing diplomatic plates departed the consulate as the 4 p.m. Friday deadline arrived for the consulate to close. At that point, federal agents checked the locked doors of the consulate and a locksmith was seen working to crack the lock on one door.
Meanwhile, a small group of protesters gathered across the street and played a recording criticizing the Chinese government.
It was unclear at the scene if the consulate had been cleared of consular staff. A Houston Police Department spokesman referred all questions to the FBI and State Department, which did not immediately respond to mes-sages seeking comment.
The U.S. alleged that the consulate was a nest of Chinese spies who 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 Hou-ston.
China called the allegations "malicious slander"  and responded by ordering the U.S. to close its consulate in the western Chinese city of Chengdu.