Tesla is security concern for China before crucial 20th Party Congress | World News


Tesla cars will not be allowed to enter the Chinese coastal district of Beidaihe – where the Communist Party holds a secretive annual summer conference that traditionally discusses major policy decisions and personnel moves – for at least two months starting from July 1. This year, in the run-up to 20th Communist Party Congress in Beijing, the coastal town in Heibei province will host a 15-day retreat of top present and past leaders of the Communist Party of China, with President Xi Jinping discussing the future of the People’s Republic with past leaders like Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. This meeting of elders in August is a usual secretive affair with no media or outsiders allowed.

Tesla owners have been told to submit an undertaking – which has been seen by Hindustan Times and which says “I ___ promise to undertake that from 1.7.2022 to 31.8.2022 I would not drive the car with plate number ___ and enter Beidhaihe district or drive the car inside Beidaihe district…”

Restrictions on Tesla cars in Beidaihe – also reported by Reuters – come weeks after they were barred from some roads in Chengdu early this month, just as president Xi Jinping was in the city.

More crucially, the Beidhaihe restrictions mean a different light can be cast on the forthcoming 20th meeting of the Communist Party Congress in October this year, at which ‘eternal leader’ Xi Jinping will be ‘elected’ to another five-year term and cement his all-powerful position within the government.

Undertaking to be signed by Tesla car owners ahead of Beidaihe meeting
Undertaking to be signed by Tesla car owners ahead of Beidaihe meeting

Xi has already restructured the Central Military Commission, of which he is chairman, and has brought in generals who are loyal to him and have served with him in the past.

Why is China wary of Tesla cars?

The restrictions come amid China’s suspicion of cameras on Tesla cars – the Model 3 has eight, as well as millimetre-wave radar and 12 ultrasonic sensors. 

The Chinese government claims these cameras pose potential security threats; last year Tesla cars were banned from military complexes.

Tesla cars have external cameras to assist drivers with parking, changing lanes and other features.

Automakers are increasingly using cameras to aid in navigation and parking but control of these images – storage and use – is becoming a challenge for the industry and global regulators.

Tesla founder Elon Musk has said his cars do not spy in China, or anywhere else, and that the company would be shut down if this was the case.

Tesla has since also said data generated by cars it sells in China – including images and sensor data – will be stored in that country.


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