SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) - The Chinese consulate in San Francisco was heavily damaged after an unidentified person set fire to the main gate, the consulate said in a statement on Thursday, in a rare attack on a Chinese mission overseas.
The consulate said the suspect was in a van parked in front of the consulate on Wednesday night, and carried two cans of gasoline to the main gate before setting it ablaze. According to another report, no one was injured in the attack.
"We strongly condemn this vicious, destructive act of arson towards the American consulate of China, which severely damaged the facilities and threatened the safety of consulate personnel and others," the statement said.
The consulate said it was working with U.S. authorities, and urged them to solve the crime quickly.
Though it is common for protests to occur outside Chinese diplomatic missions in Western countries, acts of violence are rare.
The safety of diplomatic personnel and missions is a sensitive issue in China after the U.S. military accidentally bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during air strikes against Serbia in 1999.
The attack sparked violent anti-NATO demonstrations across China and brought relations with the United States close to a breaking point.
Many Chinese still believe the bombing was intentional.