A number of Chinese companies have been recorded as supplying a variety of arms and military equipment to Russia, including one thousand CQ-A civilian model rifles, body armor, DJI drone parts, and “dual-use” technology and equipment, according to shipment trackers and record information obtained by Politico and publicly available. Reportedly the shipments primarily took place between June and December of 2022.
These shipments show that while the Chinese state has not fully thrown its support behind Russia militarily or politically, industries owned and connected to the state have signaled their willingness to make sales and export at least civilian arms and military and adjacent equipment. Officially China has maintained military neutrality and has called for peace talks.
“China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (NORINCO), one of the country’s (and world’s) largest state-owned defense contractors, sent the rifles in June 2022 to a Russian company called Tekhkrim that also does business with the Russian state and military. The CQ-A rifles, modeled off of the M16 but tagged as “civilian hunting rifles” in the data, have been reported to be in use by paramilitary police in China and by armed forces from the Philippines to South Sudan and Paraguay.
Russian entities also received 12 shipments of drone parts by Chinese companies and over 12 tons of Chinese body armor, routed via Turkey, in late 2022, according to the data.
Da-Jiang Innovations Science & Technology Co., also known as DJI, sent drone parts — like batteries and cameras — via the United Arab Emirates to a small Russian distributor in November and December 2022. DJI is a Chinese company that has been under U.S. Treasury sanctions since 2021 for providing the Chinese state with drones to surveil the Uyghur minority in the western region of Xinjiang. In addition to drones, Russia has for months relied on other countries, including China, for navigation equipment, satellite imagery, vehicle components and other raw materials. It’s currently unclear if Russia is using any of the rifles included in the shipment data on the battlefield — Tekhkrim, the Russian company, did not respond to an emailed request for comment. But the DJI drones have been spotted on the battlefield for months. DJI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The National Security Council did not comment on the record for this story. The Chinese embassy in Washington said in a statement that Beijing is “committed to promoting talks for peace” in Ukraine.
“China did not create the crisis. It is not a party to the crisis, and has not provided weapons to either side of the conflict,” said embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu.”