An attack on the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco is currently under investigation. However, authorities explained that the situation isn’t considered an act of terrorism.
Surveillance video captured the attack on the building Wednesday night. Footage shows the suspect approach the location moments before it becomes engulfed in flames. However, police haven’t publicly discussed possible motives or suspects as of this writing.
As a result of the attack on the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco earlier this week, the Chinese government is asking authorities to provide better protection for diplomats in the United States. An increased police presence was reportedly observed in the area when the building reopened Thursday.
The arsonist managed to damage the door to the building and part of the lobby. Fortunately, no one was hurt as a result of the attack. FBI special agent David Johnson said the suspect used “an incendiary device fueled by gas” in the attack in San Francisco.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement that officials are “deeply concerned” about the arson attack on the Chinese Consulate. Harf added that everyone involved is taking the matter very seriously. Officials are reportedly providing constant updates to the Chinese government as the investigation into the attack continues.
“The Chinese Foreign Ministry and embassy and consulates to the United States have lodged solemn representations to the U.S. side, demanding they solve the case as soon as possible and severely punish the culprit,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Consulate spokesman Wang Chuan added, “We strongly condemn this despicable act and have already made representations with the U.S. on the attack. And we hope that the U.S. takes all necessary measures to provide adequate protection to the consular personnel and properties and bring the culprits to justice as soon as possible.”
As of this writing, no one has come forward to claim responsibility for the attack. Despite the severity of the situation, The New York Times notes that demonstrations outside of the Chinese Consulates in the US aren’t entirely uncommon.
In 2009, protestors threw eggs at the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles following a riot that claimed the lives of 180 people in China. Since the recent incident in San Francisco was more violent, Chinese officials are hoping that security measures in the area will increase.
This isn’t the first time someone has attacked the Chinese Consule in San Francisco. A group of unidentified individuals reportedly set fire to a metal gate outside of the building back in 2008. Officials believe this was in retaliation to China’s relationship with Tibet.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]