Houston – Workers at China’s consulate in Houston loaded up moving trucks Friday ahead of an afternoon deadline to shut down the facility, as ordered by the Trump administration.

On Tuesday, the U.S. ordered the Houston consulate closed within 72 hours, alleging that Chinese agents had tried to steal data from facilities in Texas, including the Texas A&M medical system and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

China called the allegations “malicious slander” and responded by ordering the U.S. to close its consulate in the western Chinese city of Chengdu.

On Friday morning, moving trucks were parked outside the consulate and workers were seen carrying large bags out of the building, the Houston Chronicle reported.

A small group of protesters gathered across the street and played a recording criticizing the Chinese government.

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