The US gave China 72 hours to close its consulate in Houston, according to Hu Xijin, the editor of the Communist Party's Global Times newspaper.
Hu's tweet came hours after Houston police and firefighters descended on the consulate following witness reports that papers were being burned outside in open containers, the Houston Chronicle and two local TV stations reported, citing local police. Hu didn't say in his tweet how he obtained the information. His English-language tweets are closely followed by investors.
In videos posted online by local media outlets in Houston, fires could be seen in multiple containers, with smoke rising into the sky. TV stations KPRC and KHOU said firefighters were not allowed inside the complex, and KHOU said the fires were later extinguished. The Chronicle said no injuries were reported.
The Chronicle and both stations separately reported the consulate would be evicted on Friday at 4 p.m. local time, each citing unnamed sources.