UHRP – Surveillance Tech Series: DJI’s Links to Human Rights Abuses in East Turkistan

Uyghur Human Rights Project briefing by Nuzigum Setiwaldi, the third in a UHRP series examining the role of surveillance technology and its impact on Uyghurs in East Turkistan. Read our press statement on the briefing; download the full briefing in English; and read UHRP’s first two briefings in the series focusing on Hikvision and Dahua.

Key Takeaways

  • DJI is the world’s largest drone maker, producing drones worth billions of dollars each year.
  • The company is a major supplier of camera drones and other products to 43 countries globally, including the US, UK, and Australia. DJI drones are widely used by governments, businesses, and individuals, ranging from photographers and filmmakers to public safety agencies, and police and military forces.
  • DJI drones make up over half of the drones sold in the US and make up nearly 80 percent of the US consumer drone market. In 2020, DJI drones accounted for 90 percent of drones used by public safety agencies in the US and a significant number of the drones used by police forces in the UK and Australia.
  • Although DJI is a privately held company, it has received investments from state-owned enterprises in China and is classified as a “Chinese military company” by the US Department of Defense. 
  • DJI is directly involved in mass surveillance schemes in East Turkistan and has supplied public security agencies with tools to surveil and target Uyghurs, Kazakh, and Kyrgyz people.
  • Multiple governments have imposed trade restrictions on DJI, but nevertheless, government agencies, businesses, and consumers are still buying DJI drones.
  • Despite marketing its products as tools to “save lives and benefit society,” DJI is directly facilitating genocidal crimes and should be subject to comprehensive sanctions, including procurement bans, export bans, and investment bans. Retailers should immediately stop selling DJI drones to consumers.

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