State Dept. Officials Break Into China's Houston Consulate

Article 27 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations:

1. In the event of the severance of consular relations between two States:

(a) the receiving State shall, even in case of armed conflict, respect and protect the consular premises, together with the property of the consular post and the consular archives; . . .

2. In the event of the temporary or permanent closure of a consular post, the provisions of subparagraph (a) of paragraph 1 of this article shall apply.

The Trump maladministration just violated this article: Men seen forcing open backdoor of China's Houston consulate after closure

HOUSTON (Reuters) – A group of men accompanied by a U.S. State Department official were seen forcing open a door at the Chinese consulate in Houston on Friday, shortly after a U.S. government closure order for the mission took effect at 4 p.m. Central Time (2100 GMT).

The group included a man who appeared to be the State Department’s top official for foreign missions, Cliff Seagroves. The group did not respond when asked who they were by reporters and a State Department spokesperson declined to answer questions about Seagroves or the group’s activity at the consulate.

After the men pried open a rear door and went inside, two uniformed members of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security arrived to guard the door. They did not respond to questions from reporters.

Other reports:

China complains US ‘forced entry’ into Houston consulate after diplomats leave over spying claims

US officials raid Chinese consulate in Houston believed to be spy hub

China Accuses U.S. of Improperly Entering Its Houston Consulate Amid Escalating Feud

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has officially protested this violation:

The Consulate General of China in Houston is China's diplomatic and consular premises and state property. According to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the China-US Consular Convention, the US side shall not infringe upon the premises of China's Consulate General in Houston in any way. The Chinese side deplores and firmly opposes the US move of forcibly entering China's Consulate General in Houston and has lodged solemn representations. China will make legitimate and necessary reactions.

This is extremely serious and dangerous. It places the United States in the category of rogue states who do not respect diplomatic norms, which means, among other things, that our diplomats overseas (full disclosure: I used to be one, low-level) and our diplomatic missions are no longer protected from similar actions by hostile powers. This will lead to a breakdown in what is left of our diplomatic efforts to advance the interests of the United States around the world and protect American citizens abroad by means other than armed force.

Trump is not just encouraging force against our citizens at home. He is encouraging the use of force around the world, and is destroying what little is left of our standing in the world. We are not just a laughingstock any more; we are an active menace.