Researchers say the ZKZM-500 laser weapon can “instantly carbonise” human skin, set a person on fire and make them feel “pain beyond endurance”.
A laser weapons scientist said the device was able to “burn through clothes in a split second … If the fabric is flammable, the whole person will be set on fire”, reported the South China Morning Post.
The weapon weighs three kilos – about the same as an AK-47 – has a range of almost 1,000 yards and can be mounted on vehicles.
Comparing the weapon to something out of Star Wars, the report describes a silent invisible beam of energy powerful enough to pass through windows.
Video has now emerged purporting to show it leaving a plank of wood on fire after being shot from about 300ft away.
One of the clips also shows the laser gun being used to burn a hole in a wooden plank, though the beam is not visible. Another shows a car tyre and a t-shirt burning.
It comes after reports that its capabilities had been exaggerated. One article, on website TechCrunch, stated "such a laser may prove incapable of even popping a balloon".
It continued: "There’s just no way that a laser powered by a lithium-ion battery that a person could carry would be capable of producing the kind of heat described at point-blank range, let alone at 800 metres."
Although classified as “nonlethal”, the laser's sniper-like range could prove its greatest asset, with the scientists who worked on it already claiming it’s ready for mass production due to its small size.
Each weapon would be produced at a cost of 100,000 yuan (£11, 420).
The researchers said its invisible frequency and the fact that it produces no sound gives the advantage of no one knowing where the attack came from.
They said: “It will look like an accident.”
The weapon is said to be powered by a rechargeable lithium battery, and can reportedly fire over 1,000 shots per charge, lasting no more than two seconds each.
News of the laser gun comes just four months after China unveiled its largest rise in defence spending in three years.
President Xi Jinping has vowed to make China the world’s most powerful fighting force by 2050.
China’s military has gone from strength-to-strength in recent years – thanks to trillions of pounds in investment.
The 2018 defence budget is 1.11trillion yuan (£127billion), according to a bombshell report issued at the opening of China's annual meeting of parliament in March.
Defence spending is closely watched around the world for clues about China's strategic intentions as it develops new military capabilities, including stealth fighters, aircraft carriers and anti-satellite missiles.
US military officials claim “hundreds” of surface-to-air missiles, airbases and naval ports have been built on seven artificial islands in the disputed area by Beijing.
China has also been developing a whole next-generation battery of weapons including hypersonic missiles and electromagnetic railguns.
Military bosses are bent on transforming the armed forces into the world’s most powerful and have set a target of 8.1 per cent growth.
In July 2017 China sent a clear message to the world when it staged an awesome display of might in the biggest military parade ever to mark the 90th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army.
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