‘If you visit…’: Tesla CEO Elon Musk praises China, gets this advice from rights activist

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk (NASA / Aubrey Gemignani/TNS)

Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder Elon Musk on Thursday praised China for its “economic prosperity” on the 100th centenary celebration of the ruling political party. The Communist Party of China is celebrating the momentous occasion with huge pomp and show and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is leading the party as general secretary, made remarks to highlight the achievement.

In an hour-long address at Tiananmen Square, Xi said that China has realised the first centenary goal of building a “moderately prosperous society in all respects,” reported state-run Xinhua News. The Chinese president expressed confidence in achieving the second centenary goal of building China into a “great modern socialist country in all respects.”

Responding to a post by Xinhua, Musk said that “[t]he economic prosperity that China has achieved is truly amazing, especially in infrastructure! I encourage people to visit and see for themselves.” The Tesla CEO also posted the same message on Weibo, where he has nearly 1.8 million followers.

Musk’s tweet triggered a flurry of suggestions from rights activists who advised the billionaire to visit the “prison camps” in Xinjiang which China terms as “re-education camps”.

“The economic growth is undeniable — but if you visit and don’t do tours of the prison camps in Xinjiang, the colonization of Tibet, the state-of-the-art AI-powered surveillance apparatus, or conquered Hong Kong, then you don’t get the full picture,” tweeted Alex Gladstein, Chief Strategy Officer at Human Rights Foundation.

China is accused of gross human rights violations in Xinjiang province and running highly intrusive surveillance programmes in the name of national security. China’s contentious national security law targeting Hong Kong, a global financial hub and former British colony, has been criticised by the West for undermining the autonomy of the region.

But Tesla, nonetheless, has huge business interest in China, a country that has vowed to reach a carbon emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. However, the electric automaker has faced a series of issues in China, including the recent recall of Tesla vehicles, built and sold in China, by regulators over concerns about the cruise control system.


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