Thousands Gather in Chengdu to Watch American Diplomats Evacuate

“Many people came to see what was going on,” she said. “There were more even than in 1999.”


Thousands of people gathered outside the US consulate in Chengdu on Saturday as workers inside packed up and prepared to leaveon the orders of Beijing.

Against a heavy police and security presence, three trucks and a bus were seen entering and leaving the compound, while a number of workers headed out on foot, their arms filled with assorted boxes and files.

Others left the compound on heavily laden scooters, while cleaners disposed of large black bin bags – presumably full of non-sensitive materials – and a maintenance team removed the American insignia from an exterior wall.

While the capital of southwest China’s Sichuan province is not particularly regarded as a hotbed of international political tensions, the city became the focus for an outpouring of nationalistic sentiment after Beijing ordered the closure of the US mission on Friday.

That instruction came in retaliation for Washington issuing a similar order to the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas earlier in the week.

Since Friday afternoon, the area around the consulate has been under heavy security, with dozens of uniformed and plain-clothes police officers patrolling the area, and all adjacent streets closed off to traffic, allowing only pedestrians to get close.

Among the huge crowds was Wang Dayou, who said he and his son had made a half-hour subway journey across the city to witness the consulate’s demise.

Standing on the roadside opposite the compound, the forty-something said to his son: “It’s a reasonable retaliation from the Chinese government, because the US ordered China to close its consulate in Houston.”

When asked why he thought it important for his son to witness the event, he said: “I want him to understand cause and effect. He needs to be educated.

“We are closing the consulates now. But what comes next? Maybe it will be the evacuation of citizens and a hot war. But I hope we won’t go that far.”

Despite having to put up with a bit of rain, the large crowd was mostly good-natured, although police said that one man was reprimanded on Friday evening for setting off a firecracker.

Most people were content to take photographs and shoot video on their phones.

Police did intervene, however, when a young woman shouted: “We Chinese people should be united. For anyone who dares to invade our territory or bully our compatriots, we’ll let them have no return.”

She then began singing the patriotic song, I Love You, China, after which she was told by an officer that there were too many people on the street and she would have to leave.

Deng Siyi, a 16-year-old schoolgirl, who was also at the scene, said: “If China ordered the US [to close the consulate], they must have done something wrong.”

Just hours after Beijing issued that order, state broadcaster CCTV set up a live stream from outside the consulate. As of Friday night it had been viewed 45 million times, and garnered 4 million likes and 451,000 comments.

Despite the nationalistic atmosphere, some people said they were worried about the deteriorating state of US-China relations.

A 62-year-old woman with the surname Cheng, said Beijing had to retaliate for the closure of its consulate in Houston, but a bad relationship between the two countries was no good for the people on either side.

Cheng said she lived just across the street.

“We felt very safe living near the consulate, and it’s convenient,” she said. “But if it’s going to be closed, I worry the price of my house is going to drop.”

She said she was also worried about her relatives who have lived in the US since the 1980s.

“If relations between the two countries deteriorates, Chinese-Americans will face more challenges,” she said.

Cheng said the last time she saw so many people outside the Chengdu consulate was in 1999, after the US bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. That incident sparked mass protests outside the US embassy in Beijing and its consulates across China.

Another time was in 2012, she said, when the consulate provided temporary refuge for Wang Lijun, the former Chongqing police chief, who was trying to defect after falling out with his boss Bo Xilai, the former Communist Party head of the southwestern municipality.

“Many people came to see what was going on,” she said. “There were more even than in 1999.”

Source: South China Morning Post

  1. nick1111 says

    Trump is an idiot

  2. rik pieters says

    Deng Siyi, right you are. An American citizen has a lab in Wuhan, and there he made the covid-19 virus. Or not? He did it for a good friend of his, a man know for making windows. Is it a carpenter?

  3. Padre says

    In what way was the atmosphere nationalistic?They didn’t burn no US flags, they didn’t chant Yankee Go home!

    1. jm74 says

      Chinese are well mannered with a strong moral discipline; a worthwhile characteristic that the yanks don’t have.

  4. ke4ram says

    How many countries has China invaded lately? or Russia? or Venezuela? or Cuba? or North Korea? or Iran? How about we combine them all! Zero.

    How many countries has the indispensable democracy invaded? A bunch!

    Lets put this in perspective. The USA handed its production to China on a silver spoon to keep inflation low and corporate bonuses high. So now China is a major producer. Out produces the USA. Who is at fault here? If you give your neighbor your shovel and he can dig a faster and better hole than you why would you blame him for stealing your yob?

    I’m sure China has stolen many ‘secrets’, so has most other nations with the US leading the pack.

    1. Le Ruse says

      But…But… America doesn’t invade, it is bringing the greatest gift that it can bestow on Afghanistan, Iraq & trying now in Syria . That GIFT is called “democracy” !

  5. LS says

    It’s a start.

  6. Raptar Driver says

    We need to teach the Chinese the very valuable American Talent of tail gating.

    1. chris chuba says

      Lost opportunity to export pork but perhaps we already burned that bridge.

  7. chris chuba says

    The Chinese govt allowed for the bulk removal of items? I wonder if the U.S. allowed for such courtesy. Had they restricted the baggage size to one or two bags per person, I bet there would have been consulate fires. BTW I know that the consulate is sovereign but the transit to airports is not. It’s a courtesy. Safety is guaranteed but I doubt that cargo size is unrestricted.

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