Tesla cars banned for two months in Beidaihe, site of Chinese leadership meeting

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – At least cars will be banned from China’s coastal region of Beidaihe, the site of the secret annual summer party leadership meeting, a local traffic police official in Tesla told Reuters on Monday. Two months from 1 July.

The decision by Beidaihe officials comes just weeks after Tesla cars were banned from some roads in central Chengdu in early June, which coincided with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the city.

A Bedach traffic police official, who declined to be named, did not give a reason for the move but said it was a matter of “national affairs”. The official said an announcement would be made soon.

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Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Beidaihe, a seaside resort east of Beijing, traditionally hosts a summer meeting of China’s top leaders, where they discuss popular movements and political ideas behind closed doors. Usually, China does not officially announce the dates of the meetings.

Chengdu’s restrictions on Tesla cars, which have not been officially announced, came to light earlier this month after videos were posted on social media of Tesla cars being diverted from certain areas by police.

A picture of the Tesla logo is seen at a Tesla showroom in Shanghai, China, on January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ali Song

Reuters reported at the time, citing sources familiar with the directive, that the Chinese military last year banned Tesla cars from entering its compounds, citing security concerns about cameras installed in the vehicles.

Musk said at the time that Tesla cars had not been spied on in China or anywhere else, and that the company would shut down if it did. Months later, Tesla said that all data generated by the cars it sells in China will be stored in the country.

Automakers are increasingly equipping vehicles with cameras and sensors that take pictures of the vehicle’s surroundings. Controlling how and where these images are used and stored is a rapidly emerging challenge for industry and regulators around the world.

Tesla cars have several external cameras to help drivers park, change lanes, and other features.

China is one of Tesla’s largest markets as well as production sites, making Model 3 and Model Y cars for domestic sale and export from its plant in the country’s economic hub in Shanghai.

Tesla’s Shanghai plant produced about half of the 936,000 cars the US automaker delivered globally last year. However, this year the plant has been hampered by the COVID-induced Shanghai shutdown, forcing the plant to close for a record 22 days. See more information

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Additional reporting by Zhang Yan, Brenda Goh, and Kevin Huang; Additional reporting by Martin Pollard. Edited by Himani Sarkar and Muralikumar Anantharaman

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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