Supposedly diplomatic missions, PRC embassies and consulates around the world are de facto hubs for spying, intellectual property theft, and other clandestine operations. The closure of the Houston Chinese consulate in July 2020 stemmed from these concerns.
These missions also function as command and control centers to silence and gather information on Chinese dissident groups. For example, former Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin, who defected to Australia in 2005, claimed there are over 1,000 agents and informants deployed solely for tracking and silencing people who advocate for Falun Gong.
These PRC missions also work to dictate the narratives of Western media. According to a 2020 Freedom House report, Chinese consular officials work to silence media outlets critical of the CCP, and “intimidate local journalists, advertisers, and editors.”