BEIJING -- The Chinese Consulate in San Francisco said today that its compound was damaged in an arson attack and urged American authorities to protect the safety of its diplomats and its premises.
The consulate said in a notice on its website that a person came out of a van parked outside the compound Wednesday night with two buckets of gasoline, poured the fuel on the front of the consulate building and set it on fire.
The consulate's notice, which was in Chinese, did not identify the individual or say how the consulate knew what had caused the fire.
The notice said the fire caused serious damage and that San Francisco's police and fire departments arrived at the scene.
A telephone message left with the San Francisco Police Department wasn't immediately returned.
The notice called the incident "a sabotage of a vile nature" and said China had urged U.S. authorities to launch an immediate investigation. It also said an investigation was underway.
The fire caused "serious damage to the facilities of the consulate and endangered the safety of the consulate officials and the citizens living nearby. We express strong condemnation," the statement said.