To continue his electric vehicle operations in China, CEO Elon Musk pledged his support to the regime’s “core socialist values,” according to Mediaite. The pledge comes after Tesla and other electric vehicle manufacturers cut their prices to kill competition from smaller companies, a move that China denounced as “reckless.”
The capitulation of Musk to China is particularly significant, as China makes up a third of Tesla’s sales, according to The Financial Times. But the move is concerning to some of Musk’s supporters, as Tesla is the only non-Chinese company to have signed onto the letter.
The close relationship between China and the billionaire comes as Musk claims to be a beacon of free speech. Since buying Twitter, right wing pundits and commentators praised the innovator for releasing internal records showing collusion between the federal government and the platform. In one such instance, the FBI was working to censor the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story ahead of the 2020 election.
But the free speech persona Musk takes on in the U.S. appears suspicious as he praises the communist regime for its work to bring economic prosperity to its country. During a recent trip to China in early June, Musk expressed his position against “decoupling” the U.S. and China’s economic relations, suggesting instead that they are “conjoined twins.”
But while some analysts are noting the tight rope that he is walking on to maintain good relations in both the U.S. and China, Yaqiu Wang, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, suggested that Musk is behaving hypocritically. Yaqiu noted that while Musk claims to not like censorship, he is showing his support for the communist regime, which takes significant measures to surveille its citizens.
The friendly sentiment comes as the U.S. and China spar for dominance on the international stage. Amid the Russia-Ukraine War, China is fostering alliances with Russia and setting its crosshairs on Taiwan.