American diplomats fall ill in China after hearing odd noises

Getty    
     MYSTERIOUS US embassy building with the US flag raised over it in Havana

Getty MYSTERIOUS US embassy building with the US flag raised over it in Havana

The government says it still doesn't know the cause.

US doctors later diagnosed that first employee, who the State Department evacuated from the Guangzhou-based consulate in April, with brain trauma. She said they are being offered to "any personnel who have noted concerning symptoms or wanted baseline screening". 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.

After several months of frustrating non-responses from Cuban officials, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pulled almost all of the USA embassy staff out of Havana, a step that has soured relations between the Trump administration and the Cuban government.

The incidents have raised concerns that a government or agency may be targeting the USA with a new type of sonic weapon.

Lenzi also contends that his security clearance was frozen after he attempted to bring attention to the issue, effectively barring him from work at the consulate, and that he is now calling for the resignation of the USA ambassador to China, who is based in Beijing.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in her daily press briefing on Thursday they had not been informed of any additional cases after the first individual but the Chinese government would start an investigation if the USA requested.

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. More than half of the US Embassy personnel were withdrawn back in September.

The US citizens - 24 in total - suffered a variety of symptoms including sharp ear pain, headaches, ringing in one ear, vertigo, disorientation, attention issues and signs consistent with mild traumatic brain injury or concussion.

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President Donald Trump has been asking China to cut the Dollars 375 billion trade deficit.

Last year, 24 United States diplomats and their family members in Cuba fell victim to mysterious "attacks" that left them with injuries resembling brain trauma. The team arrived earlier this week, and Nauert said the medical screenings were ongoing.

The US Embassy in China sent out its second health advisory in two weeks saying the employee's medical incident is "consistent with what other US government personnel experienced in Havana".

She said China followed the Vienna convention to protect diplomatic staff of the USA and other countries.

The U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, in southern China, officially opened in 1979 and moved to its current location in 2013.

It serves four southern provinces with a combined population of more than 204 million and processes more than 1 million visa applications of all types annually. It is also the only USA diplomatic installation in China authorised to process immigrant visas and handle adoptions.

Aled Williams, a British teacher at a kindergarten said the reports sounded "sci-fi-ish".

"Hard to get my head around how it works", he said. "China will ensure the safety of foreign diplomatic staff in China, including those from the United States", she said.

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