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A girl displays a Chinese flag. Reuters

In a bid to explore the concept of a nonlethal arsenal, China has developed a new long-range weapon that can cause extreme pain without killing the target, according to a report by IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.

The new weapon, dubbed the “WB-1,” was unveiled by a Chinese defense company, called Poly, at the Airshow China 2014 in November. According to the IHS Jane's Defence Weekly report, WB-1 uses millimeter-wave beams to hit targets from over half a mile away. After the beam strikes a person, it heats water molecules below the skin, causing intense pain. The weapon currently has a range of about 262 feet, but extra power can increase the range to up to 0.6 miles. The WB-1 pain gun is expected to be used on ships, allowing China to enforce its territorial claims in the East China and South China seas without capturing or destroying enemy vessels, the report said, citing local media.

The United States also deployed its own nonlethal microwave pain gun to control crowds in Afghanistan in 2010. The device, called the Raytheon Active Denial System (ADS), was first revealed in 2007 and was subsequently recalled in 2010 amid criticism over the ethical implications of using such a weapon to break up riots, Popular Science reported.

“The U.S. mission in Afghanistan centers around swaying locals to its side. And there’s no better persuasion tool than an invisible pain ray that makes people feel like they’re on fire,” according to a Wired report on the use of ADS in Afghanistan.

The U.S. military, which repeatedly requested the government to allow it to use ADS after it was recalled, attempted to show that the weapon could be used with certain safeguards in a CBS "60 Minutes" segment that showed a reporter being subjected to an ADS weapon in a demonstration.

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