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Cruz: COVID-19 has opened eyes to dangers from China

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz urges Supreme Court to take up Pennsylvania election challenge OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration proceeds with rollback of bird protections despite objections | Trump banking proposal on fossil fuels sparks backlash from libertarians | EU 2019 greenhouse gas emissions down 24 percent Trump's NATO ambassador pledges 'seamless' transition to Biden administration MORE (R-Texas) said Sunday that the coronavirus pandemic has opened people's eyes to the dangers of China.

“The most significant foreign policy consequence of this pandemic is people are understanding the threat China poses and in particular this virus originated because of communist China’s deliberate coverup,” Cruz told CBS’s Margaret Brennan during an interview Sunday in "Face the Nation"

“They arrested, they silenced the heroic Chinese whistleblowers that tried to stop this, and because of that, over 600,000 people are dead," he said, "because the Chinese communist government lied.”

Cruz also commented on the closure of a Chinese consulate in Houston the latest sign of the deteriorating relationship between Washington and Beijing. 

He said other Chinese consulates “may well be closed,” and that the Houston facility “was closed because it had been engaged in espionage- they used it as a base for spying in Houston and throughout the southwest.”

Cruz noted his visit in 2019 to Hong Kong in solidarity with protesters demonstrating against the erosion of the city’s autonomy from Beijing, saying “for a long time I have made the case that China poses the greatest geopolitical threat for the next century.”

The U.S. formally took over the former consulate in Houston last week after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE ordered it closed and accused staff of working to steal U.S. intellectual property. Chinese officials have called the closure an “unprecedented escalation.”

“The US move seriously breached international law, the basic norms of international relations, and the terms of the China-US Consular Convention,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement earlier in July. “It gravely harmed China-US relations. The measure taken by China is a legitimate and necessary response to the unjustified act by the US. It conforms with international law, the basic norms of international relations, and customary diplomatic practices."