On Friday July 24, after China announced the closure of the U.S. consulate general in Chengdu, China’s official media, including CCTV began broadcasting live images outside the consulate on social media platforms. At the peak, more than 20 million people were watching. The state media showed images of trucks leaving the U.S. consulate, while the signs and nameplates on the outer wall of the consulate were being removed. Many people went to the consulate for a visit. Some of them held Chinese flags and tried to take a picture in front of the consulate. Dozens of police officers were stationed outside the consulate. They asked onlookers not to stay and tried to stop any provocative behavior. Fire trucks were also at the scene to prevent possible accidents. One man was taken into police custody because he was shouting, “China Add Oil (Go China)! I am a Chinese.” The police fined another man because he tried to light a fire cracker outside the consulate. When a bus with brown tinted glass left the consulate, the onlookers started booing. One 63-year-old man told Reuters that closing the consulate was a reciprocal action that China took against the US. Another video circulating online showed a man between 50 and 60 years old choked up. He said, “The U.S. should be a friend.” Many others were afraid to speak to the media and refused to be interviewed.
In this diplomatic war between the U.S. and China, Zhuang Zuyi, the wife of Jim Mullinax, the American consulate general in Chengdu, and a Taiwanese food writer was also accidentally involved. Zhuang often writes on Weibo about food and life in Chengdu and never hides her love for Sichuan province. She has performed on the street of Chengdu and has close to 600,000 followers on Weibo. Since the news of the closure of the Chengdu consulate, Zhuang’s social media account has been flooded with thousands of angry comments calling her “spy” and “Taiwan Independent.”
The US Embassy in China posted a video and wrote on its official Twitter account on Monday, July 27, “Today, we bid farewell to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu. We will always miss you.” People commented that they appreciated the help from the US. They are hoping for a free China and are looking forward to the return of the consulate back in Chengdu in the near future.
1. BBC Chinese, July 27, 2020
2. Epoch Times, July 27, 2020