U.S. federal agents and local law enforcement on Friday afternoon, July 24, forced their way into the Chinese Consulate compound in Houston, Texas, following Tuesday’s order to close the diplomatic facility after U.S. officials alleged that it was part of a larger espionage effort carried out by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

U.S. agents were seen in videos entering the consulate via the back door as three other were locked.

The Trump administration on Tuesday ordered the CCP to “cease all operations and events” within 72 hours at its consulate in Houston. It alleged Chinese officials tried to steal data from facilities including the Texas A&M medical system. But the head of the Chinese Consulate declined to commit the order.

“The United States will not tolerate the PRC’s (People Republic of China) violations of our sovereignty and intimidation of our people, just as we have not tolerated the PRC’s unfair trade practices, theft of American jobs, and other egregious behavior,” the State Department said in a statement. “We have directed the closure of PRC Consulate General Houston, in order to protect American intellectual property and American’s [sic] private information.”

The CCP called the move by the United States an “unprecedented escalation” and threatened to “make a legitimate and necessary response” if the United States did not retract the order.

Just hours later, Chinese officials at the consulate reportedly rushed to burn classified documents.

The CCP ultimately ordered the United States to close its consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu in retaliation for the Trump administration’s decision.

On Thursday, the Justice Department said a Chinese researcher, Tang Juan, who is accused of lying about her background in the CCP’s military wing on a visa application, is being kept in the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco.

The department announced criminal charges of visa fraud against four Chinese researchers, including Tang. It said Tang lied on a visa application last October as she made plans to work at the University of California, Davis, and again during an FBI interview on June 20. Tang and others are now in custody.

U.S. authorities this week announced criminal charges against two Chinese nationals who are accused of stealing trade secrets and hacking into computer systems of firms working on the CCP Virus (coronavirus) vaccine. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday called on governments around the world to join the United States in confronting CCP leaders.

“The only way to truly change Communist China is to act on the basis of what its leaders do, not what they say. President Reagan dealt with the Soviets on the basis of “trust but verify.” When it comes to the CCP, I say, “Distrust and verify,” Pompeo tweeted.