US diplomats have been ordered to leave Shanghai as the city continues its strict lockdown.
Non-emergency consulate workers and their families will be evacuated on commercial flights, the US State Department has decided.
"Our change in posture reflects our assessment that it is best for our employees and their families to be reduced in number and our operations to be scaled down as we deal with the changing circumstances on the ground," a US embassy spokesperson said.
China said it had lodged "solemn representations" with the US in response, saying that it should stop slandering China's COVID policy, which was "scientific and effective".
Shanghai has been under a draconian lockdown for more than a week, with millions confined to their homes.
Some have struggled to get enough food supplies from the government, leading to small scale protests.
Anyone who tests positive for COVD-19 must be sent to a quarantine centre, rather than isolating at home.
These range in quality.
Some are vast exhibition centres holding thousands of people in communal spaces, with no showers, little privacy and lights kept on 24/7.
Mattresses On Floors And Heaps Of Rubbish
Others are more makeshift, with mattresses scattered on the floor and heaps of rubbish, seen in videos posted on social media and verified by Sky News.
Authorities have lifted lockdown for some residential compounds in Shanghai over the last 24 hours.
Residents have been allowed outside their homes and onto the surrounding streets.
Public transport and almost all shops and restaurants remain closed.
Videos shared with Sky News by one resident allowed to leave his compound showed deserted streets.
The city reported a slight drop in COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours, recording 23,346 cases compared to 26,087 the day before.
More than 200,000 cases have been logged during its latest COVID-19 outbreak, but officials have not reported any deaths.