It looks like the Chinese government sees Tesla as a threat to national security.
Beidaihe district is a Chinese resort town not too far from Beijing. This place is holding many top party secret meetings. It is now tightening security for the next Chinese Communist Party’s annual summer retreat; temporarily banning Tesla vehicles is part of the plan.
Per Reuters news on June 20, a local traffic police official said they would prohibit Tesla vehicles from entering coastal Beidaihe district of Hebei province for at least two months, starting on July 1.
The official who refused to disclose his name said the ban is for “national affairs” without details about it.
As China will hold its Party 20th National Congress this fall, there is a custom that the current and outgoing party leaders will go to Beidaihe for summer gathering.
While China didn’t give details for the ban, the assumption is that they don’t want the Tesla cameras to capture anything related to the meeting of Chinese leadership.
Some weeks before, police in Chengdu herded Tesla vehicles away while leader Xi Jinping visited Meishan City, Sichuan Province.
In March 2021, the Chinese military banned Tesla cars from entering its bases, citing security concerns related to the vehicle’s external cameras.
The authorities also told some state-owned companies that their employees can’t drive Tesla cars.
According to reports on China’s Tesla restrictions, the government is concerned that information acquired by the cars’ cameras may be sent to foreign servers and possibly given to or obtained by the U.S.
If Tesla used cameras and other equipment to spy on Chinese leaders, CEO Elon Musk stated Tesla would be shut down.
The company also stated that Tesla vehicles onboard cameras aren’t switched on outside of North America.
According to Fortune, China just created a law that mandates tech companies have to keep user data within its country; Tesla vehicles collected data must be stored on China servers.
The second suspicion is how Tesla got Shanghai officials red carpet treatment in 2019 when opening its giant factory.
Shanghai officials helped Tesla construct its plant and gave the company a license to run as a wholly foreign-owned business instead of cooperating with a local company, as is usually required of foreign automakers.
The Shanghai giant factory has become Tesla’s most productive plant worldwide and the fastest-growing automaker in the China market.