Staff of the U.S. consulate in Chengdu made final efforts to clear the premises on Sunday as security remained tight outside, ahead of a Monday closure ordered by Beijing as China-U.S. relations continue to worsen.
A mini tourist atmosphere prevailed outside the facility on a tree-lined street on a hot Sunday, as onlookers shared sidewalk space with dozens of uniformed and plainclothes police opposite the entrance.
Consulate closures in Houston and Chengdu have escalated a sharp deterioration in ties between the world’s two biggest economies, which were already their worst in decades amid disputes over trade and technology, the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and its clampdown on Hong Kong.
Police asked people to move on when crowds formed outside the consulate, as onlookers took photos and videos of what they expected would be the last time to see the compound in U.S. hands. The street was closed to traffic, except for consular or police vehicles let through by police.