When he arrived in China on Tuesday by private jet, it marked his first trip to the country in three years. He received a warm welcome from top commerce, industry and foreign ministers, and some social media users even went so far as to call him a “global idol.”
The world’s richest man was treated to a special meal at a Beijing restaurant, where the menu was customized to feature the Tesla logo, along with two dark horses with a Chinese phrase written below that means “the horse that surges ahead of the pack.” The 16-course meal, which he enjoyed with a battery executives, featured shrimp, jellyfish, cuttlefish, beef, lamb and pork.
China is an important market for Tesla, and its Shanghai plant produced more than 700,000 of its Model 3 and Model Y vehicles last year. This amounted to more than half of Tesla’s global output.
On the trip, he met with several top Chinese ministers as well as prominent business figures. He also stopped at Tesla’s factory in Shanghai, its biggest production hub, where he thanked staff for their work. A video about the visit was posted to Tesla’s official account on the Chinese version of Twitter; the real Twitter, now owned by Musk, is blocked in China.
During the trip, he was not as active on Twitter as usual. Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher Yaqiu Wang noted: "Despite his self-proclaimed detest for censorship and willingness to challenge it, he is behaving properly for his CCP host."
Although Musk claims to be a proponent of free speech, his actions don’t match his words. For example, Brighteon TV content continues to be banned on Twitter, and it’s no coincidence that Brighteon is not afraid to criticize the CCP. Musk seems to have no problem with censorship when it benefits him. In fact, he reportedly implored the CCP to censor online content in China that could harm Tesla’s image. As part of a mission to build relationships with influencers and automobile publications in China to promote Tesla vehicles, he reportedly attempted to censor discussions about Tesla cars running off the road randomly or spontaneously catching on fire.
“According to people familiar with the matter, it’s also complained to the government over what it sees as unwarranted attacks on social media, and asked Beijing to use its censorship powers to block some of the posts,” Zero Hedge reported in 2021.
In an interview with Natural News founder and editor Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, former top Trump advisor Steve Bannon said he believes Musk bought Twitter as part of a plan for a wider AI operation and pointed out that Tesla was funded using money from China.
“If he’s got some plan or sees it as some cybernetic global brain for humanity… if you see what he’s thinking about with Twitter, what he feels he has, combined with the AI of Tesla, understanding that both are fully financed by the Chinese Communist Party, that’s never been disclosed, and he won’t talk about it, we have a problem,” he said.
Tesla has been incredibly successful in China, flourishing even when domestic car sales dropped. The CCP has played no small part in that, providing Musk with tax exemptions on sales as well as billions of dollars’ worth of funding to get his Shanghai factory off the ground.
Sources for this article include: