A few days ago, when Mr. Xi Jinping visited Sichuan, Chinese netizens echoed that local police took measures to prevent Tesla electric cars from entering the Chengdu urban area, which has made the general public concerned.

According to the Chinese government website, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Xi Jinping visited the cities of Meishan, Yibin, and others in Sichuan province on June 8. Meishan is located southwest of Chengdu, only 60 km away. 

On the morning of June 9, Xi Jinping had a warm meeting with senior leaders, the colonel, and the head of the army unit established and stationed in Chengdu.

At the same time, news on Chinese social media platforms said that local police implemented traffic regulations to prevent Tesla electric cars from entering the Chengdu urban area.

The video uploaded by the local people showed that day, police directed the traffic in Chengdu from Shudu avenue and the 1st Ring Road, and Tesla electric cars were not allowed to enter the city.

Screenshots of a Chinese website show people saying: “Tesla cars are not allowed in today”; “The police said he did not target me but Tesla electric cars, they are not allowed into the city.”

Another said: “How unreasonable!”; “Tesla runs all over the city, so it must be against the trend of East ups-West downs?” ‘East ups -West downs’ is a statement by Xi Jinping referring to the East’s rise and the West’s decline.

Someone commented: “Tesla will also expand its factory in Shanghai,” “I don’t know when I can get to work today,”; “some leaders are coming to the city in these two days, right?”

Tesla restrictions have become a hot topic in China

As the Wall Street Journal reported last March, people familiar with this problem said that the Chinese government was restricting the use of Testa cars for employees in government agencies and key state-owned enterprises. The apparent reason would be that the data collection by Tesla cars could lead to leaks of national security information.

The restrictions apply to all employees of sensitive state-owned companies such as military installations, government agencies, and aerospace companies. Later, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said his company would “shut down” if Tesla cars were used for surveillance operations in China.

According to Nikkei Asian, the restrictions do not only target employees. The Chinese government also banned Tesla cars from entering People’s Liberation Army facilities and housing complexes of these units.

According to Aljazeera, Tesla, like many other automakers, including General Motors Co., uses several small cameras, mainly located on the outside of the vehicle, to help guide parking and autonomous driving and self-driving functions. Most Tesla models also have an interior camera mounted above the rearview mirror that can be used to detect whether the driver is looking at the road, down on the street, wearing sunglasses, or looking at something else entirely.

Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk tweeted in April 2019 that the internal camera is there “for when we start competing with Uber/Lyft, and people allow their car to earn money for them as part of the Tesla shared autonomy fleet.”

“In case someone messes up your car, you can check the video,” Musk explained.

Since the 1990s, China has banned foreign auto companies from setting up 100% owned subsidiaries in China, and foreign companies must enter into joint ventures with Chinese companies. However, Tesla built a wholly-owned factory in Shanghai in 2018.

Despite cooperating closely with China, Tesla still faces limitations.

According to Reuters, Tesla’s Shanghai factory was forced to shut down for 22 days after Shanghai enforced a two-month lockdown, which significantly affected production capacity. Tesla’s wholesale sales in China in April were only 1,152 cars, compared with 2,165 vehicles sold later, in May.

In an internal Tesla email obtained by Reuters last week, Musk said he was not alone in having a “bad feeling” about the economy that has forced his company to cut down 10% of its workforce.

Multiple earthquakes hit Sichuan

At 8:51 pm on June 9, an earthquake with a magnitude of 2.9 on the Richter scale occurred at Malkang, Aba Province, Sichuan, with the epicenter at a depth of 10 km underground and at coordinates 32.26 degrees north latitude and 101.80 degrees east longitude. No casualties were registered.

Then, after 0:30 on June 10, 11 consecutive earthquakes occurred within a magnitude of 3 to 6 on the Richter scale. The Aba Provincial Emergency Committee has issued a second-level emergency response plan for earthquakes.

Chinese people have linked the earthquakes and Xi’s visit. The Botanwang website quoted Internet user @wuzuolai as saying that Sichuan was originally a military base for Xi. Still, the city of Meishan that Xi visited was Emperor of the Shu-Han dynasty Liu Bei’s last stronghold on the land of Shu. This time Xi went out without considering feng shui, indicating that it was an omen for the current Chinese leader. 

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