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US gov’t employee in China suffers brain injury similar to ‘sonic attacks’ in Cuba

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves to deputies at the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. (Lan Hongguang/Xinhua/Sipa USA/TNS)
May 23, 2018

The State Department issued a health alert for U.S. citizens in China on Wednesday after one employee had reported “abnormal sensations of sound and pressure” and was diagnosed with a mild brain injury.

The State Department is investigating whether or not this could be a possible “sonic attack,” similar to what took place in Cuba last year and in 2016. U.S. diplomats there experienced possible “sonic attacks,” and the U.S. eventually reduced the number of American employees there.

The U.S. official who experienced the “abnormal” sounds reported physical symptoms from late 2017 to April of this year, according to the State Department, and the employee was sent home for medical assessment. The employee was stationed in Guangzhou in southern China.

The cause of the injuries is currently unknown, and no other employees have experienced similar symptoms at this time.

CNN reported that the the U.S. Embassy Beijing learned May 18 that the initial findings of the employee’s assessment matched that of “a mild traumatic brain injury,” according to an embassy spokeswoman.

The U.S. is determining whether or not this is a “sonic attack” and whether or not it’s similar to what possibly happened in Cuba, a U.S. diplomatic official told CNN.

“The employee was sent to the United States for further evaluation. On May 18, 2018, the Embassy learned that the clinical findings of this evaluation matched mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI),” U.S. Embassy in Beijing spokesperson Jinnie Lee told Gizmodo. “The Chinese government has assured us they are also investigating and taking appropriate measures.”