Tight security outside US Chengdu consulate after China orders closure

Noel Celis / AFP

Security was tight outside the US consulate in the Chinese city of Chengdu on Saturday as staff inside prepared to leave.

It comes a day after China ordered its closure in response to a US order to shut the Chinese consulate in Houston after branding it a "hub of spying and intellectual property theft".

The tit-for-tat consulate closures have brought a sharp deterioration in relations between the world's two largest economies.

A consulate emblem inside the compound was removed as staff could be seen pushing trolleys and several consulate vehicles came and went.

Police, including many plain clothes officers, gathered outside and closed off the street to traffic.

Meanwhile, at the Houston consulate, staff packed up belongings watched by jeering protesters. 

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