US Issues Alert in China 'Abnormal Sensations of Sound'

Ruben Hill
May 23, 2018

A US government employee in southern China reported abnormal sensations of sound and pressure, the State Department said Wednesday, recalling similar experiences among American diplomats in Cuba who later fell ill.

The person experienced "subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure", a statement said.

The diplomats said when they left rooms in the embassy, the symptoms and sounds immediately stopped. Tensions in the relationship frequently flare over accusations of cheating at trade, stealing of secrets, human rights and arms sales to Taiwan, a USA partner that China claims as its own territory.

Despite hundreds of billions of dollars in annual trade between them, China and the USA are considered strategic rivals for influence in Asia. The State Department said an email notice Wednesday, May 23, 2018, that a US government employee in southern China reported abnormal sensations of sound and pressure, recalling similar experiences among American diplomats in Cuba who later fell ill.

The notification said the department was not aware of any other cases inside or outside the diplomatic community. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said that from late 2017 to April 2018, a government employee assigned to Guangzhou reported an unusual physical symptoms. "Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present", the alert advised.

Was this a sonic attack?

However, there is nothing so far to link the occurrence with those in Cuba.

"We can not at this time connect it with what happened in Havana, but we are investigating all possibilities", a USA embassy official told Reuters.

Staff there reported symptoms including hearing loss, dizziness, fatigue and cognitive issues, though Cuban officials dismissed the idea of acoustic strikes as "science fiction" and accused Washington of slander.

In Cuba, the American victims had associated the onset of their symptoms with "unusual sounds or auditory sensations", a State Department physician told the US Senate in January. Ten Canadian diplomats and their relatives also suffered a odd illness.

The US government has held Cuba responsible, arguing that Raul Castro's authoritarian state must have either carried out the assaults or at least known who was behind them.

Cuba has denied any involvement, and described the reports as a "political manipulation" aimed at damaging bilateral relations.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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