China’s Houston Consulate Had Long Been Scrutinized by FBI
Story Code : 880050
In a discussion set up by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, John Demers, the Assistant US Attorney General for National Security, argued that Houston was "not chosen at random" when the White House announced it was shutting down the consulate last month "to protect American intellectual property and Americans' private information".
Chinese Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin promptly blasted the action dubbing it "an unprecedented escalation of its recent actions against China".
Demers said the move was meant to disrupt "what we had been tracking for some time". He said he had been told about 50 instances in 30 different US cities where similar industrial and intellectual property espionage for China was alleged to have taken place, with Houston being just the "tip of the iceberg". He noted even more US criminal indictments are likely to come in the course of this year, as the authorities have been reassigning prosecutors to deal with Chinese-related matters.
Demers weighed in on the domestic controversy around the use of the wildly popular video app TikTok, stressing the US government's major concern has to do with national security issues, as the app is known to handle rather sensitive personal data, sometimes including personal contact lists and location details.