Security Risk? Elon Musk Makes China Chief His Top U.S. Exec

(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Elon Musk’s disturbing love affair with Communist China continues, as the second highest executive at Tesla (second only to Musk himself) is now Tom Zhu, Tesla’s chief of operations in China, according to Breitbart. Reuters initially reported the promotion, claiming it saw an internal posting. Zhu becoming Head of Plants and Sales in the United States could raise security concerns. After all, since all companies in China are directly surveilled by and answerable to the tyrannical Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and since Zhu retains his position as Tesla Vice President for Greater China, he will continue to answer to the CCP.


That means the CCP can demand data and specific actions from Zhu as a Chinese executive; how can Musk be sure Zhu will never let information from his U.S. job be shared? The CCP runs one of the most authoritarian censorship and surveillance regimes in the world and mandates “civil-military fusion,” where the Chinese military can access everything in the economic sphere. How is Zhu not a security risk?

Tesla’s market capitalization dropped $700 billion just this year, with a 47% share price drop since late October. This happened even as Musk spent $44 billion to buy Twitter, leading some shareholders to call for Musk’s resignation, Breitbart said. COVID-19 lockdowns in China also slowed Tesla production, and there were recalls.

Zhu’s promotion is perhaps an attempted solution to Tesla’s crises. But I wonder if the move is meant to encourage China to increase support to save Tesla. After all, Musk recently said Taiwan should belong to Communist China, and immediately afterward he received tax-exempt status for Tesla in China. Musk also wrote an article in a CCP state publication, put out by the state agency responsible for controlling tech companies, urging increased Chinese investment in all his projects, including AI and human brain microchips. If pandering to the genocidal CCP worked before, Musk might reason, why shouldn’t it work again?

Related: The ‘Fauci Files’: Musk Hints at What’s to Come

Regardless of the unrevealed reasons, Zhu will be both Tesla Head of Plants and Sales in the United States and Vice President for Greater China. So Zhu will continue to answer both to Musk and to the CCP.


Unfortunately, the whole history of Tesla in China seems to be a sacrifice of principles for CCP favors. Breitbart, citing Peter Schweizer’s book Red-Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win, said that Musk originally stated he would not open Tesla factories in China, but changed his mind. Why? “‘Chinese government–backed banks coughed up $1.6 billion in subsidized loans [and] the regulatory red tape to build in China was eliminated by government authorities.’” Vice Premier Li Keqiang even reportedly offered to make Musk a permanent resident of China at a meeting soon after Musk brought Tesla to China.

Musk has become both widely vilified and widely lauded recently for bringing more free speech to Twitter. But he continues to be a hypocrite when it comes to Communist China.


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