Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla, shares his vision for the future with a Chinese publication run by the Cyberspace Administration of China. His words were inscribed in the latest July publication of the official magazine.
The agency—the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC)—was formed in 2013 in response to the Chinese government’s greater emphasis on censoring online content. Additionally, it oversees user data and security for companies like Alibaba and Tencent.
In the following years, the CAC introduced a magazine outlining major regulatory announcements and research on online content policy. Before it changed to China Cyberspace this year, official articles were published under the name New Media.
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Believing in Technology for a Better Future: Musk’s Column
The column had been authored in Chinese; however, Yang Liu, a Chinese state press agency journalist, translated it into English and posted the article on his Substack newsletter, Beijing Channel. The column featured Musk’s take on sustainability, humanoid bots, space exploration, and much more. Other local industry leaders, including Ant Group Co. Chairman Eric Jing, pitched their thoughts on inclusivity and accessibility in technology development.
Elon Musk stated in his column, “I want to do everything we can to maximize the use of technology to help achieve a better future for humanity.” To that end, any area that contributes to a sustainable future is worthy of our investment. “
Musk notes that he was invited by the magazine, run by the Cyberspace Administration of China, to write the piece. A smart move for Musk to seize the opportunity to showcase the technological prowess of his companies to Chinese officials and the public./2
— Yang Liu (@yangliuxh) August 13, 2022
He also squeezed in his ideas for a sustainable future, “Electrified transportation.” Full electrification of transportation, including cars, planes, and ships. Electric rockets may be more difficult, but we may be able to manufacture the propellant used in rockets from sustainable energy sources. Eventually, the world economy will be run entirely by sustainable energy sources.
Elon Musk’s Objectionable Relationship with Censorship Endorsing Entities
Business tycoon Elon Musk’s collaboration with the Chinese censorship agency, the Cyberspace Administration of China, is counterintuitive to his free speech advocacy. After announcing his plans to buy Twitter for $44 billion, he reiterated, “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.”
(Musk has since withdrawn the proposal, however, Twitter plans to settle the matter in the Delaware Chancery Court on October 17.)
With China on its way to dominating the electric-vehicle market, Elon Musk is determined not to alienate the Chinese authorities. Instead, Tesla has a factory in Shanghai. This year’s temporary closure due to a COVID-19 lockdown severely impacted Tesla’s production and deliveries. The factory plays an essential role in his achieving his electric vehicle ambitions.
Musk is Trying to Walk the Same Tightrope
Kendra Schaefer, head of tech policy research at Trivium China, said, “Musk is trying to walk the same tightrope that Zuckerberg and Pichai walked before him—but these are different times.”
China – with a GDP of $17734.06 billion in 2021, according to official data from the World Bank (the world’s second-largest economy) – provides a huge market for these tech luminaries and is thus impossible to forsake.
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