They are accused of working with the Chinese military and also providing the Russian military with their drones. That’s a big no-no.
The Shenzhen-based consumer drone maker DJI has been added to the US blacklist. Now it joins that list with Huawei. The US Department of Defense accused the company of supplying the Russian military and having close ties with the People’s Liberation Army in China.
DJI is the world’s largest consumer drone provider, so this is a huge deal, especially to drone enthusiasts. The company is not in very hot waters yet as it is still not listed on the US Department of Commerce’s Entity list, which basically serves as a death sentence for companies blacklisted. When listed in this Entity list, companies are not allowed to acquire US technology and partner up with any US-based firms. This is currently the situation with Huawei.
The Pentagon is “determined to highlight and counter the … military-civil fusion strategy, which supports the modernisation goals of the People’s Liberation Army by ensuring its access to advanced technologies and expertise are acquired and developed by PRC companies, universities and research programmes that appear to be civilian entities”, the department announced.
In addition to having close ties with the PLA, there are also reports that the Russian military is using DJI’s drones for surveillance. These drones are being used in the 2022 invasion of Ukraine. The situation got worse after the Russian Embassy noted the usefulness of the drones in its combat operations. The US is also worried that the Chinese government will use DJI’s resources for research and modernization of its armed forces.