EMP weapons mimic the gamma-ray pulse caused by a nuclear blast that knocks out all electronics, including computers and automobiles, over wide areas. The phenomenon was discovered in 1962 after an aboveground nuclear test in the Pacific disabled electronics in Hawaii.
The declassified intelligence report, obtained by the private National Security Archive, provides details on China’s EMP weapons and plans for their use. Annual Pentagon reports on China's military in the past made only passing references to the arms.
The report said that in addition to EMP weapons, “any low-yield strategic nuclear warhead (or tactical nuclear warheads) could be used with similar effects.”
According to the report, China’s electronic weapons are part of what are called “trump card” or “assassin’s mace” weapons that “are based on new technology that has been developed in high secrecy.”
According to the report, China conducted EMP tests on mice, rats, rabbits, dogs and monkeys that produced eye, brain, bone marrow and other organ injuries. It stated that “it is clear the real purpose of the Chinese medical experiments is to learn the potential human effects of exposure to powerful EMP and [high-powered microwave] radiation.”
However, the report said another explanation is that the Chinese tests may have been research “intended primarily for torturing prisoners,” or the tests may have been conducted to determine safety or shielding standards for military personnel or weapons.