State Department Investigating Employee’s Reports of Unusual Sounds and Pressure in China

The U.S. State Department is investigating a federal employee’s reports of experiencing unusual sounds and sensations of pressure at an American consulate in Guangzhou, China. The experience was shared by e-mail with American citizens located in China.

According to the notice, “A U.S. government employee in China recently reported subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure. The U.S. government is taking these reports seriously and has informed its official staff in China of this event.”

The situation is of particular concern to the United States government in light of recent similar occurrences in Cuba, where at least two dozen American diplomats were affected to varying degrees by what they described as barely perceptible, but unusual sensations of sound and pressure. The impacted employees’ symptoms ranged from nausea and dizziness to permanent hearing loss, concussions, and long-term difficulty with concentration and word recall.

Following that incident, the State Department ordered all non-essential embassy personnel out of the country for fear of further occurrences. The federal government has thus far been unable to officially identify the cause of the and has yet to ascribe blame, though various theories have named the Cuban, Russian, and Chinese governments as potential instigators.

According to the American embassy in China, the impacted employee’s evaluation “matched mild traumatic brain injury.”

AFP News quoted an embassy official as stating they “cannot at this time connect” the incident in Guangzhou “with what happened in Havana,” but “are investigating all possibilities.”

However, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the symptoms “are very similar and entirely consistent with the medical indications of the Americans working in Havana.”

For Americans traveling to and working in China, the State Department urges: “…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.”

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