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Tesla cars blocked for 2 months in Beidaihe, the site of China’s leadership meeting

SHANGHAI, June 20 (Reuters) – Tesla (TSLA.O) cars will be banned from entering the Chinese coastal district of Beidaihe, the site of a secret annual leadership conclave for the summer party, for at least two months from July 1, a local traffic, a police official told Reuters on Monday.

The decision by the Beidaihe authorities comes just weeks after Tesla cars were also banned from driving on some roads in the central city of Chengdu in early June, which coincided with a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to the city.

The official from the Beidaihe Traffic Police Brigade, who refused to give his name, gave no reason for the move, but said it was “national affairs”. An announcement will be made soon, the official said.

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Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Beidaihe, a beach resort east of Beijing, traditionally hosts a summer conclave for China’s senior executives where they discuss staff movements and political ideas behind closed doors. China does not usually formally announce the dates of the meeting.

The Chengdu restrictions on Tesla cars, which were not officially announced, emerged earlier this month after videos were posted on social media of Tesla cars being diverted from certain areas by police.

A Tesla logo was seen at a Tesla showroom in Shanghai, China on January 7, 2019. REUTERS / Aly Song

Last year, the Chinese military banned Tesla cars from entering the complex, citing security concerns over cameras installed on the vehicles, Reuters reported at the time, citing sources who had seen the directive.

Musk said at the time that Tesla’s cars were not spying in China or anywhere else, and that the company would be shut down if it did. Months later, Tesla said that all data generated by cars they sell in China will be stored in the country.

Car manufacturers have increasingly equipped vehicles with cameras and sensors that take pictures of the surroundings of a car. Control over how these images are used and where they are sent and stored is a rapidly growing challenge for industry and regulators worldwide.

Tesla cars have several external cameras to help drivers with parking, lane change and other functions.

China is one of Tesla’s largest markets, as well as manufacturing sites, where it produces Model 3 and Model Y vehicles for domestic sales and exports from the factory in the country’s economic hub Shanghai.

Tesla’s Shanghai plant made about half of the 936,000 vehicles the American automaker delivered globally last year. However, this year the factory has been hindered by Shanghai’s COVID-induced shutdown, which forced the factory to close for a record 22 days. read more

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Reporting by Zhang Yan, Brenda Goh and Kevin Huang; Further reporting by Martin Pollard; Editing Himani Sarkar and Muralikumar Anantharaman

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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