Last week, the U.S. ordered the closure of a Chinese consulate in Houston, accusing Chinese diplomats there of turning the facility into an illegal spy center. However, according to this week’s report, the consulates in San Francisco and New York are the main locations for Chinese spy operations in the U.S.
At the time, the order was intended to “protect American intellectual property and American private information,” a spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council said at the time.
The problem, however, is that the consulate in Houston, Texas, is not the main spy center for the Communist nation.
The Chinese Communist Party controls two major espionage sites ̵1; their consulates in San Francisco and New York.
“San Francisco is a real gem, but the United States will not close it,” a former U.S. intelligence official told Axios this week.
One of these consulates is less likely to close than in Houston, an example of which appears to be the Trump administration.
China has long been accused of using its embassy and consulates for dubious purposes, such as gathering information about Uighurs and Chinese dissident groups and controlling the control of Chinese students.
As of 2018. One president of the Chinese Students ‘and Scholars’ Associations (CSSA) told Foreign Policy, “it seems to me that the trend is for the consulate to make more and more of an effort to control the CSSA.”
The embassy and consulates, according to Axios, paid students for participating in demonstrations to visit Chinese leaders, and asked CSSA presidents to hold study sessions on the party’s thought and send photos to the government to “ensure compliance.”
San Francisco has long been the most important of the two consulates in the area of espionage.
According to Politico, foreign intelligence operations in the Gulf have focused on gathering trade secrets and technology from the nearby Silicon Valley.
“This is a very delicate form of intelligence gathering, more business-related and more business-oriented,” one intelligence official said in 2018.
The source added that spies “are a very important part of the daily environment” in the region.
In addition to gathering technological secrets, Chinese officials have also long focused on gathering intelligence on America’s domestic political affairs.
2018 Politico reported that the Chinese government had hired a well-functioning elder, Dianne Feinstein, in California to report on US policy.
At the time, Feinstein, D-California, had been working for nearly two decades as a Chinese spy as its driver, a bartender in his office, and a liaison with the Asian American community, the San Francisco Chronicle reported at the time.
The article says the man even attended the functions of the Chinese consulate in the California senator.
A spokeswoman for Feinstein said at the time that her cabinet was not commenting on staff matters.