The independent resource on global security

China's Exports of Small Arms and Light Weapons

Publisher: SIPRI
ISBN 978-91-85114-80-1 ; 978-91-85114-83-2
October, 2013

China is a leading exporter of small arms and lights weapons (SALW) and is a popular supplier among states looking for inexpensive or alternative sources of SALW. While China has stated its commitment to preventing the illicit trade in SALW and formally recognizes the destabilizing effect that SALW transfers can have, it is one of the least transparent arms exporters.

This report is the first to comprehensively map Chinese policies and practices for controlling SALW transfers. The authors use their expertise in arms transfers and Chinese foreign policy to describe China's involvement in multilateral SALW control initiatives, detail its administrative system for granting export licences and map the destinations of Chinese SALW exports. This timely and detailed report will prove to be a useful resource for future studies of China's evolving approach to the control of SALW transfers.


1. Introduction

2. Multilateral transfer control efforts

3. China's transfer controls

4. Mapping China's exports

5. Conclusions and recommendations



Dr Mark Bromley is a Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Dual-Use and Arms Trade Control Programme.
Dr Mathieu Duchâtel was a Senior Researcher in SIPRI’s China and Global Security Project.
Paul Holtom Paul Holtom is the Head of the Conventional Arms and Ammunition Programme at UNIDIR. He was previously the Director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.