Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi welcomed the staff of the former Chinese consulate in Houston as they arrived in Beijing on Monday.
Wang, at a brief but solemn ceremony at the Beijing Capital International Airport, said that in the face of the incident where the US violated the basic norms of international relations by asking China to close its Houston consulate, its staff kept their composure and safeguarded the country‘s core interests and the legitimate rights of Chinese institutions overseas in a time of adversity and great danger.
Party Chief Qi Yu of the Chinese Foreign Ministry conferred a Class III merit to the staff at the event.
Anti-China forces are using any possible way to undermine China-US relations and deliberately contain China‘s development, however, such plot is against the tide of history and is doomed to fail, said Wang Yi.
Thousands of Chinese netizens expressed their welcome and respect for the consulate staff on Sina Weibo, calling them heroes.
The news drew public attention and topped the hot search list, with more than 140 million views as of press time.
“I don‘t know why my eyes are full of tears. China‘s path to greatness has indeed been difficult, and the diplomats on the frontline have worked very hard. Stay Strong, China!” one said.
“All returned, stationed, fearless Chinese diplomats deserve respect! Thank you for being at the forefront of the conflict, making China‘s position clear, expressing China‘s attitude and telling China‘s story to the world well,” another one wrote.
The US abruptly asked China to close its consulate in Houston within 72 hours in July. This was a unilateral political provocation by the US against China, a grave violation of international law and the basic norms governing international relations, a grave violation of relevant provisions of the China-US consular treaty, and a deliberate attempt to undermine China-US relations, Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on July 22.
China ordered the US to shut its consulate in Chengdu, Southwest China‘s Sichuan Province on July 24 in retaliation.
“Some in the US have been seeking to sabotage China-US relations, and are deliberately disrupting China‘s development. But we believe dialogue rather than confrontation is what the two peoples want. China‘s future will be determined by the Chinese people, not anyone else,” Hua Chunying, another Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said on Twitter on Monday.