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American flag lowered at US consulate in China’s Chengdu after Beijing orders its closure

In what comes as a dramatic escalation of Cold War-style diplomacy and worsening of relations between the United States and China, the Xi Jinping-led regime has now ordered the closure of the US consulate in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu.

State broadcaster CCTV shared a video on its twitter-like Weibo account, taken by a reporter, of the American flag in front of the consulate in Chengdu being lowered at 6:18 AM on Monday morning. The police have also restricted access to the area around the US consulate on Monday morning, as a 10 AM deadline loomed for the United States to vacate the premises after being given 72 hours to leave.

On Sunday night, a crane could be seen entering the consulate compound and hoisting at least one container onto a large truck. The evening earlier, a worker could be seen using tools including a hammer and chisel to remove fittings around a plaque outside the main entrance.

This comes after Washington had ordered the shutdown of China’s consulate in Houston. The move is being seen as a furious retaliation against the closure of its mission in the United States.

Relations between the US and China have been worsening over the past month as top American officials are increasingly being vocal about what they term as the”tyranny” of China, amid the magnifying global crisis arising out of Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and its efforts to suppress the Hong Kong democracy movement.