USA embassy pulls more China staff over mystery illness


Sonic attack warning issued as US citizens fall ill in China | Daily Star

China on Thursday said it has investigated the United States allegations of mysterious sound attacks on its diplomats in the city of Guangzhou and found "no clue" even as two more American diplomats were evacuated after complaining of similar phenomena.

On Wednesday, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the employees were sent to the US for a "further evaluation and a comprehensive assessment of their symptoms and findings".

Americans working at the U.S. Consulate in Guanzhou, China, developed unexplained ailments after hearing unusual sounds in at least two apartment complexes, the Times reported. Most of the incidents were accompanied by weird, unexplained sounds that initially led USA investigators to suspect a sonic attack.

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Nauert also said that remaining USA government personnel and their families in Guangzhou would be able to request testing if they "noted concerning symptoms or wanted baseline screening".

"The medical screenings are ongoing for any personnel who have noted concerning symptoms or wanted baseline screening", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

The evacuation of the U.S. diplomats with mysterious illness comes at a time when the relations between Beijing and Washington were going through a tense phase as the two countries grappled to avert a trade war. It's one of five consulates the US operates in China, along with its main embassy in Beijing, according to the State Department's website.

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An employee first fell sick last month in China, and now another employee, his wife and their two children were evacuated after the adults showed signs of neurological symptoms.

Asked about the latest incidents, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the US had not formally raised the matter with Beijing.

China's government said Thursday that it investigated and could not find anything to cause the described symptoms, NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Beijing. The Canadian government followed suit in April and directed the families of diplomatic staff in Cuba to return home. The retelling of his and his wife's experience to the Times heavily resembles what the diplomats in Cuba reportedly suffered: headaches, odd physical symptoms, and occasional "unusual noises". The U.S. government has deemed those incidents "specific attacks" on American workers but hasn't publicly identified a cause or culprit.

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The State Department acknowledged the Lenzi incident late last month. The issue led the United States to expel Cuban diplomats. The diplomats who reported problems with hearing loss, balance, vision, sleep, and headaches in Cuba were living in hotels and other dense dwellings-places where a listening device or other unknown technology could have easily been planted nearby.

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