Despite being a self-described “free speech absolutist,” Tesla billionaire Elon Musk wrote an article for a magazine published by Communist China’s chief censorship bureau.
The world’s richest man published an article in the July issue of China Cyberspace, a magazine published by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the top internet regulator in charge of implementing the regime’s strict censorship apparatus in Beijing.
The CAC is a subsidiary of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, of which Xi Jinping is the director. It is central to the Communist Party’s power structure, and its director, Zhuang Rongwen, is also the head of the Propaganda Department.
While the CAC is primarily involved in laying out the government’s censorship agenda, it also has the ability to directly purge material, most notably as the leader of Operation Qinglang, which was launched in 2021 to prevent non-state run media entities, such as social media users and citizen journalists, from posting “harmful” material on the Chinese internet, which is already heavily censored.
Musk’s decision to write an article for a CAC magazine runs counter to his self-described status as a “free speech absolutist” and his persistent criticism of censorship in the West, particularly on social media sites like Twitter.
However, it may demonstrate the lengths to which the Tesla founder will go to maintain a cordial relationship with China, a key country for the electric car company’s future growth. It also lends credence to Donald Trump’s claim that Musk is a “bullshit artist.”
Musk has a long history of lavishing praise on the Chinese regime, openly declaring that “China is the future” ahead of the 2019 opening of a Tesla factory in Shanghai.