Authorities are concerned about the vehicles’ cameras collecting sensitive data, media reports
Tesla vehicles have been banned from Beidaihe, a Chinese beach resort west of Beijing, that traditionally hosts the Chinese leadership’s summer retreats, Reuters reported on Monday citing a local traffic police official.
According to the article, the ban will come into force on July 1 and last for at least two months. Reuters’ source said the decision concerned “national affairs” and that an official announcement of the ban is due in the coming days.
It reportedly comes ahead of a planned meeting of China’s top government officials in Beidaihe, which is famous for its nature and historical sights. However, the dates of the meeting are usually kept secret.
The cars produced by the US automaker had previously been barred entry to several other areas in the country. A similar decision was made in early June in Chengdu in southwest China, ahead of a visit to the city by President Xi Jinping.
In March 2021, the Chinese military banned its employees from coming to bases and housing compounds in Teslas, citing concerns about their built-in cameras collecting sensitive data.
The Chinese government believes that Tesla cars equipped with cameras and sensors can be used to collect classified information, which could then be transferred to the US government.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk denied allegations of possible espionage last year.
“If Tesla used cars to carry out espionage activities in China or anywhere, we will get shut down… There’s a strong incentive for us to be confidential,” Musk said at the virtual meeting in March 2021. Tesla had previously pledged to store the data it collected in China within the country and said that cameras built into its vehicles are only activated in North America.
Tesla cars have quite a few more cameras than other automakers. They use several small cameras located on the outside of their vehicles that facilitate parking, autopilot and self-driving functions. Most models also have an interior camera mounted above the rear-view mirror, which helps track whether the driver is paying sufficient attention to the road.
Tesla declined to comment on the report, when asked by Reuters.
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