The ZKZM-500 laser assault rifle is the size and weight of a regular rifle, but shoots lasers that can cause "instant carbonization" of human flesh, the South China Morning Post reports.
Wang Zhimin, associate researcher at the Research Centre for Laser Physics and Technology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, said technological improvements have led to more powerful devices.
"It is not designed explicitly for killing like a gun that uses bullets and can not cause the "instant carbonisation" of human skin and tissues", he added.
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The weapon weighs three kilograms - about the same as the Russian mass produced AK-47 assault rifle - and has a range of about 800 metres.
One laser weapons scientist said that the weapon can "burn through clothes in a split second ..."
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It's powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which allows a fully charged weapon to fire 1,000 shots lasting two seconds each.
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A researcher involved in the project said that for anyone hit with the beam, "the pain will be beyond endurance".
And the laser makes no sound so according to one researcher "nobody will know where the attack came from, it will look like an accident".
Initially, production costs are set to be 100,000 yuan (US$15,000/ £11,000) per unit.
ZKZM-500 is reportedly ready for mass production for China's military and police only, according to the Post, but maker ZKZM Laser hasn't found a licensed partner yet.
Laser weapons have always been a fixture in science fiction but recent developments suggest that the technology is actively being developed for military use.
The weapon will likely first roll out to Chinese SWAT units, who could fire the weapons through windows to disable kidnappers in a hostage situation. It can be also used for sabotage, for example, buy causing gas tanks of enemy vehicles explode with no apparent cause.
Despite its supposed capabilities, the weapon has been described as "non-lethal", according to a document released last month on the Public Service Platform for National Civil-Military Integration.