US warns staff in China about possible sonic attacks
Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionThe affected staff member reportedly worked at the US consulate in Guangzhou
US warns staff in China: Beware of unusual sounds
BBC – The US state department has urged its staff in China to alert them to any abnormal hearing or vision issues after one employee reported mystery symptoms.
The US previously said its diplomats in Cuba had suffered similar symptoms after suspected sonic attacks.
China-US relations have been strained recently, with the threat of a trade war looming.
The US has not accused China of being behind the issues.
Embassy spokeswoman Jinnie Lee told US media the employee suffered a mild traumatic brain injury while working at the US consulate in the city of Guangzhou.
“We do not currently know what caused the reported symptoms and we are not aware of any similar situations in China, either inside or outside of the diplomatic community,” the US diplomatic statement said.
“The US government is taking these reports seriously and has informed its official staff in China of this event,” it said.
The statement continues with a warning: “While in China, if you experience any unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises, do not attempt to locate their source. Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present.”
Was this a sonic attack?
Parallels have been drawn with the suspected sonic attacks in Havana.
However, there is nothing so far to link the occurrence with those in Cuba.
“We cannot at this time connect it with what happened in Havana but we are investigating all possibilities,” a US embassy official in Beijing told AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.
What happened in Cuba?
Around November 2016, US diplomats based in Cuba started to complain of odd ailments, including dizziness, nausea and hearing problems.
More than 20 members of staff in Havana were harmed in the “health attacks”, according to the state department. At least two Canadians were also affected.
The US has held Cuba responsible, either for allowing the suspected attacks to happen or for carrying them out itself.
Cuba has denied any involvement, and described the reports as a “political manipulation” aimed at damaging bilateral relations.
—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: May 23, 2018 at 10:23AM