The Chinese coastal district of Beidaihe will soon ban Teslas for two months ahead of the Chinese Communist Party’s upcoming annual meeting.
The Chinese coastal district of Beidaihe will soon ban Tesla cars for two months ahead of the Chinese Communist Party’s upcoming annual meeting in the region. The ban comes barely weeks after the central Chinese city of Chengdu barred Teslas from entry during a visit by Chinese premier Xi Jinping. Teslas are also banned from Chinese military sites and housing complexes due to security concerns over the cameras installed on these vehicles. The Chinese government even issued a circular last year, restricting the use of Tesla vehicles by military personnel, as well as employees of government agencies and state-owned enterprises in ‘sensitive’ industries.
Tesla is the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) maker, having sold more than 900,000 cars in 2021. According to figures released by the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), Tesla produced 473,000-odd vehicles in China last year, with the country’s domestic market accounting for the vast majority of the cars that rolled out of Gigafactory Shanghai. Overall, about 160,000 of those 473,000 vehicles were exported to overseas markets, while the rest were sold to customers in the country, making China one of the largest international markets for Tesla. However, production in the country has been hampered by China’s Covid lockdown measures, which forced Tesla’s factory to remain shut for 22 days earlier this year.
Talking to Reuters, an unidentified official with the Beidaihe Traffic Police Brigade said that the Tesla ban will take effect on July 1 and last for at least two months. They also claimed that the ban was due to ‘national affairs,’ but refused to elaborate any further on the matter. No official government agency or authority issued a formal statement about the restrictions, which only came to light after videos of police diverting Tesla cars from certain areas in Beidahi emerged on social media. However, the official who spoke to Reuters claimed that an official announcement about the new restrictions would be made soon.
Does China Suspect Tesla Of Spying?
If the earlier restrictions on Tesla vehicles are anything to go by, the latest ban in Beidahi is likely due to Tesla’s cameras that Chinese officials suspect could be spying on them during their meeting. Located in northeast China, Beidahi is known for hosting an annual meeting of senior Communist Party leaders every summer. The meeting is so secretive that the party doesn’t even announce the dates in advance.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is known for shooting from the hip and getting into unnecessary controversies at the best of times, but he steadfastly avoids criticizing Chinese authorities. No wonder then that neither Tesla nor Elon Musk has commented on the latest developments, although Musk had earlier said that Tesla vehicles do not indulge in spying, either in China or anywhere else. To allay the fears of the Chinese authorities, Tesla has also since announced that all data generated by cars sold in China would be stored locally in the country.