How I got in Serious TROUBLE for flying a drone in China

Flying a drone has always been a grey area in Mainland China, this is the first time I got into serious trouble flying a drone and wouldn’t be the last!

My Drone recommendations:

My favourite drone (seriously): Mavic Mini
https://amzn.to/3foXuP7
A more professional drone: Mavic Air 2
https://amzn.to/2AurtWW
If you’re looking for the best Quality: Mavic Pro 2
https://amzn.to/3hlgaAU

For a deeper dive into China’s Propaganda influence and soft power, watch our liveshow ADVPodcasts: https://www.youtube.com/advpodcasts

DOCUMENTARY LINKS:
Stay Awesome China: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/stayawesomechina

Conquering Southern China:
https://vimeo.com/ondemand/conqueringsouthernchina

Conquering Northern China:
https://vimeo.com/ondemand/conqueringnorthernchina

For Motorcycle adventures around the world, and a talk-show on two wheels go to ADVChina every Monday 1pm EST
https://www.youtube.com/advchina

For a realistic perspective on China and world travel from an American father and a Chinese mother with two half-Chinese daughters go to Laowhy86 every Wednesday 1pm EST
https://youtu.be/mErixa-YIJE

For a no-nonsense on the street look at Chinese culture and beyond from China’s original YouTuber, join SerpentZA on Friday at 1pm EST
https://www.youtube.com/serpentza

Music used: Virtual Vice – Upcoming album

Support Sasha and I on Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/serpentza
Join me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/winstoninchina
Twitter: @serpentza
Instagram: serpent_za

100 comments

  1. The drone photography in this video is amazing Winston . Many people will undoubtably love the way it captures and promotes the city. Sometimes accidents can occur with any documentary filming which I’m sure the CCP clearly understands

  2. without videos like these the world probably would never see how beautiful China is. i’d like to thank all the foreigners who take the risk and film the country as it is. yor drone footage is amazing! The lightning… wow. And the parasols.

  3. Apparently, you weren’t arrested, so … why the exaggeration? Why not say what actually happened – you were stopped and questioned – you weren’t put under arrest.

  4. I was wondering why serpentza hasn’t 1 million subscribers , did he used to had more but many Chinese (mainland) left after he was telling uncensored truths ???

  5. People like you are bringing our tiny planet together one YouTube video at a time. I have a DJI Mavic Pro. I have had a few close calls myself, including the flight with fish line Halloween ghost that ended in broken drone disaster.

  6. Thanks for the story. I have watched heaps of stuff on your channel to see the real culture in China and of the way it is policed and governed. I like that you tell the real story. Cheers.

  7. Serpentza. You never show up in my subscriber feed, and this is the 3rd time ive had to turn notifications back on to your channel. I’m confused and concerned. The same thing happened to milkboys channel and ADVchina. I’ve enabled notifications for each of these channels many times. Never have turned it off. I think right around when you guys started making covid related videos I stopped seeing notifications from all of them at once. I’m like nearly 2 months+ behind on every channel now, I just remembered about you. been a follower for years but still i mean i need notifications i follow a lot of people. I’ve even watched both your motorcycle travel movies. and even still forgot about both of you guys for months. imagine how quickly this would make a new follower forget about your channel. smh youtube. I dont have this issue with other creators that I closely follow

  8. And like you have said before.. If anyone was going to spy for a foreign government in China they would obvious be ethnically chinese. People unfortunately think in very simple terms and it is encouraged by media and even government warnings. Thank you for taking these videos I always thought Shenzhen was the best city to live in concerning the enviroment.I just wish it was not so humid and hot during the long summers.

  9. While at first I loved to watch you channel and was a subscriber. It is these types of actions that you have done in your time there that have made it so much more difficult for everyone else. You are blatantly irresponsible with your piloting of your DJI drone and a total lack of safety with the people you are flying above and near. You lived there way to long to not understand the CCP. Yes, I am very aware of the common people and how kind, warmhearted they truly are. Yes, I am aware that I will always be a foreigner to them. But to do what you have done, your channel here and your total disregard for anyone but yourself is truly sad and disappointing for everyone but you.
    Thank you, thank you for making my life much more difficult when I return back to China.

  10. I have no objection of you making anti-videos about China but please let your wife leave back to her home country China which she really loves .And then you can keep working on anti-China videos.She is not happy with you by making her home dirty with your filthy mouth with biased views

  11. That’s how I found this channel back in the day…who is that guy flying drones in China…Way Cool ! :>) Best drone footage I’ve ever seen ! ! ! Can’t wait to see more.

  12. Makes total sense they’d be paranoid about foreigners spying on China.
    After all, they push for their own citizens to spy on foreign countries. It’s probably pretty logical that they think other countries do the same…

  13. I mean what do you expect, China has gone feral lately. Not to mention the spying, bribing political leaders, the belt and road scam that bankrupts poorer nations, stealing IP, building a backdoor into motherboards allowing the Chinese to spy on people in the west etc.

  14. You are lucky you got out and not disappeared. I just watched a documentary “Harvested Alive 10 Years Investigation of Force Organ Harvesting” on youtube. I hope you have seen it, if we think China is evil now, after watching this you viewers will be speechless. I do believe there is a link between the covid-19 non disclosure and the exploding and financially lucrative forced harvesting business in China. In 2015 there were over 10k reported (they think it is in the hundreds of thousands however) ,a liver was worth 35k usd, with people flying in from all over the world as they could get one in 1-2 weeks versus here in the us of 1 to 2 years. Word gets out there is a potentially lethal virus in china, no one is gonna want to buy one of their “harvested” organs. I imagine they are stopped for now. They are sick, sick, sick and I personally have pledged never to buy a Chinese made product or buy from a chinese owned company again. Those poor, poor Chinese citizens.

  15. Im sorry… I know youre anti CCP but here in my country the Netherlands its illegal too to fly drones too except in 2 places where there is no airtraffic .. For example… When you want to fly a drone above my city of Amsterdam youre drone will be taken by the police and you will get fined for sure when they catch ya. . I mean… You live in LA now… Try to fly a drone above downtown LA and see what happens.

  16. Fellow drone nerd here. If you’d like to check out FPV I can show you how to build your own freestyle drone and get all the necessary equipment. I’m in California just a bit north of you let me know👍

  17. Lol your drone video caught my attention together with your choise of music… And then I learned of your passion of China. Thank you for the many hours of teachings, highly appreciated 💕 you and your gang are awesome. Stay safe and healthy. Bisous from Europe.

  18. I had a DJI for years and then the laws changed so much in Australia I could not fly it on my own property or anywhere close , all my fav spots became off limits so I just sold it.

  19. Winston, I love your channel and this is a great story. However, the title is a bit misleading— pretty much amounts to click bait and I expect better from you. 1) Being Arrested means taken into custody and being charged with a crime 2) Detained means taken into custody on a reasonable suspicion of a crime (at least in the West it needs to be a reasonable suspicion). In the story, you were definitely detained as you were not free to leave. Things could well have gone downhill, and you were at a very real risk of being eventually arrested, but until one is told what you are charged with, it is a detention. You would have been in detention even if the PLA physically took you into a police or military station and kept you overnight.

  20. The Chinese government should take a page from their own rhetoric, if they aren’t doing anything wrong then they shouldn’t be afraid to be video spied upon by a spy drone, email me that secret footage of Xi!

  21. Interesting … but please refrain from click baiting your videos – it hurts you credibility …
    This event is a mild “military police detention” no handcuffs were produced which means an actual arrest.
    However, I do understand that if arrested – you would have been in a world of shit – with no representation on your behalf available…
    you might have been “disappeared” for a long time – while the military command decided what to do with you.
    So lucky you – being successful with your shadow walk.

  22. I think I would be sweating bullets also in that situation , very intimidating. I have a family member that lives in a heavy populated area of a city in Australia. He decided the only safe way to avoid detection and getting arrested flying his drone at night time was start up his whipper snipper to drown the noise of the drone on take off. He then sent the drone up as quickly as possible . It worked, no one was the wiser. He actually got some really good night video of the city. The neighbors may have thought it a little strange why someone would be using a whipper snipper at night, but hey it worked for him. lol

  23. This is not so strange in China. The drone is a kind of fresh stuff in mainland. The related law is not so complete. And you can say that the military guards has some seriousness about foreigners. They are afraid of the foreigners spy. But they didn’t chase you. It means that they still trust you as a normal foreign tourist.

  24. Tragedy, you DIDN’T get arrested. They should have deported you. I have no idea why you keep doing this. In some places, drones are prohibited to protect privacy. There’s nothing personal or it only happens in China. You just want to get attention and make profit! Even universities in the US don’t allow drones on campus, how about that? Students got police question them about flying drones on campus here. Should I also make a video about that? Those “military guys” are likely Armed Police Force personals, you idiot! PLA won’t ask you to leave, they would just take you down. You have been in China for years, but still couldn’t tell PLA from APF. Shame for you! Those servicemen protect your safety, but you in return, try so hard to ruin their reputation!

  25. @serpentza: I’ve viewed your video, I must say it’s very interesting and have some serious questions, please answer them as follows.

    1) Why did you intentionally capitalize the word “ARRESTED” in your Title when you were technically not arrested, but only stopped at the scene for questioning? Are you again trying to mislead your (brainless) subscribers into concluding that Chinese police are unreasonable or inhumane or brutal or somewhat the entire Chinese police force in Mainland China including its central government is an unreasonable oppressive evil police state which is another one of your smokescreen to conceal your bias and lies against China, a continuance of your anti-China propaganda?

    2) Do you honestly Not think that the word “ARRESTED” is an over-exaggeration, a devious attempt to mislead the public? According to your own testimony in your own video, you flew a drone without first obtaining a police permit near a Government building (which is deemed a misdemeanor in many countries across the world) and the local Chinese authorities merely instructed you to stop, search your device for SD card which you arrogantly (or stupidly in my opinion) admitted that you had removed through sleight of hand, thus this disgraceful act of yours has clearly exposes that reveals your character to be one of deceit and dishonesty, being morally and ethically irresponsible and untrustworthy. You were never brought back to the police station for interrogation nor physically restrained in handcuffs nor detained against your will; based on the context of your own testimony, you were never mistreated in any physical shape or form. On the contrary, you were merely asked questions without any physical abuse inflicted on you. Do you really think you were so lucky that none of them made any attempt to chase you down? Hey nitwit, they were just being nice and merciful to you, so be grateful, you fool!!!

    3) Now tell me HONESTLY (I do hope there’s an iota of Honesty left in you); if the exact same incident had happened in another country and let’s pick a Democratic country and assume that you flew the same drone near a Government building in the US or UK, what would likely happen to you? Would you not be stopped by the local police, handcuffed and taken into custody to be brought back to the police station for detailed interrogation, and have all your belongings and electronic devices stripped down and checked, have your body searched inch by inch, and every single pocket of your garment emptied, no?

    I have more questions for you, but just deal with the above 3 questions first. Hope to receive your “honest” response if you can be honest enough. Peace.

  26. Your footage is beautiful, it’s something I would have as an live wallpaper… you should release a library for wallpapers/video editing for money potentially

  27. I know the feeling man… I was caught by secret service in Red Square decades ago, for filming without permit, with a professional camera, big heavy tripod and all.
    For a moment there, all the spy/gulag movies flashed into my mind 😮
    All well at the end. The unassuming agent told me he was watching me for 2 hours (!) from the cctv before he came.
    Extremely polite I must say, and speaking perfect english. phew!

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