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Washington ramps up China attacks as its witch hunt targets consulate: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2020-07-22 21:42

The US move to force the closure of the Chinese Consulate General in Houston in three days will undoubtedly fuel an unprecedented escalation of the already tense relations between the two countries.

The closure has been ordered "in order to protect American intellectual property and American's private information", US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement on Wednesday.

It signals that the US administration is attempting to open a diplomatic front in its rivalry with China after targeting the country in a wide range of sectors from trade, education, people-to-people exchanges and of course high-tech, where it has ramped up its attack. As part of his reelection campaign, the US president ran Facebook ads this weekend attacking TikTok, a hugely popular social media app owned by Beijing-based tech company ByteDance.

Given the allegations of data threats used to justify both the attack on TikTok and the closure of the consulate, it is somewhat ironic that the Facebook ads attacking TikTok were linked to a survey that required respondents to give their names and contact details.

Given its immense popularity, it is no surprise that TikTok has been singled out in the ongoing witch hunt against Chinese tech companies in the US.

But the forced closure of the Chinese consulate is a new gambit in the US administration's bid to paint China as a malevolent actor on the world stage, and thus make it an outlaw to the international community.

Violating international law and the relevant regulations in Sino-US treaties on consular affairs, the move shows that lagging behind his presidential election opponent in the polls — as a result of his widely criticized and much-flawed response to the novel coronavirus outbreak — the US leader is going all out in his attempts to portray China as an agent of evil.
It is to this end that he now insists on calling the pathogen the "China virus" and talks of it "targeting" the vulnerable.

China has unfortunately become the straw man as President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden battle for the White House.

The forced shut-down of the Chinese consulate shows the extent to which the US leader and his backers are pinning their futures on their anti-China strategy.

China can expect more provocations in the coming months and the world should remain clear-eyed about both their lack of substance and the motivations behind them.

At the same time, Beijing has no alternative but to react to the administration's move with a firm countermeasure, as a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.

The US administration has repeatedly tried to shift the blame onto China for the appalling situation in the US, stigmatizing China as a threat to the American way of life. The US administration's insistence on trying to reheat the Cold War is ridiculous, and at a time when the world desperately needs cooperation, it is also callous.

Not to put too fine a point on it, it is killing people.

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