The inner workings of the Chinese Communist Party are mysterious to all outsiders save Ray Dalio. This makes it difficult to say what, precisely, has motivated the country’s latest move against Tesla. Sure, the new restrictions on use of Tesla vehicles by military staff and employees of some state-owned enterprises could be due to the proffered reason, their susceptibility to spies.

The move follows a government security review of Tesla’s vehicles, which Chinese officials said raised concerns because the cars’ cameras can constantly record images, the people said, as well as obtain various data such as when, how and where the cars are being used, and the contact list of mobile phones that are synced to the cars. The government is concerned that some data could be sent back to the U.S., the people said.

Of course, accusations of espionage have in the past been a thinly-veiled disguise for retaliation, and China certainly feels like it has a good deal to retaliate for, from Big Board delistings to alleged rudeness in Anchorage. Or perhaps, in this case, they are a stand-in for concerns about Teslas’ reliability.

Or maybe the Chinese don’t want any of their generals or captains of industry dying in a fireball, and are trying to be polite about it.

China to Restrict Tesla Use by Military and State Employees [WSJ]
In First Talks, Dueling Accusations Set Testy Tone for U.S.-China Diplomacy [NYT]

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