Tesla announced it opened its first store in Xinjiang on New Year’s Eve, a week after President Joe Biden signed a law banning imports tied to forced labor in the region where the United States says the Chinese government is conducting genocide against Uyghur Muslims.
Tesla, the world’s largest electric vehicle company, touted the new car showroom on a Chinese social media website called Weibo. The company is led by Elon Musk, who has gone all-in on investing in China as he praises the Chinese Communist Party. All the while, the U.S. is relying on another Musk company, SpaceX, to launch satellites and astronauts into space.
The celebratory Chinese language social media posts by Tesla China revealed the new store had opened in Urumqi, the capital of the Uyghur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang in northwest China.
“On the last day of 2021, we meet in Xinjiang. In 2022, let us launch Xinjiang on its electric journey together!” a post by Tesla read, while one of the pictures featured a sign saying that “Tesla [loves] Xinjiang.”
“Urumqi Tesla Center officially opened!” another Tesla post said. “As the first Tesla center in Xinjiang, it integrates sales, after-sales, and delivery to help Xinjiang users enjoy a one-stop service experience, and also escort Tesla owners on their western journey.”
Biden signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act into law on Dec. 23.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in December that the U.S. was “cooking up lies” about Xinjiang.
The U.S. government released a Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory in July, arguing that China’s “crimes against humanity include imprisonment, torture, rape, forced sterilization, and persecution.”
The Commerce Department has blacklisted numerous Chinese companies it contends are complicit.
Musk was asked in December about his thoughts on China during an interview at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit.
Musk predicted that “China is probably going to have an economy two to three times the size of the United States” and said, “Tesla has a good relationship with China, and I don’t mean to endorse everything that China does any more than I would, say, endorse everything the United States does, or any country.”
In June, when the CCP was commemorating its 100th anniversary, Musk tweeted to his 66.2 million followers, “The economic prosperity that China has achieved is truly amazing, especially in infrastructure! I encourage people to visit and see for themselves.”
Musk shared his tweet with 1.9 million followers on Weibo, while the comments were also parroted by state-run media.
SEC filings by Tesla show its revenue has grown in China, bringing in $14.87 billion, $12.65 billion, and $15.2 billion from the U.S. in 2018, 2019, and 2020, respectively, compared to Tesla’s revenue of $1.76 billion, $2.98 billion, and $6.66 billion in China.
Tesla China sold nearly 53,000 made-in-China vehicles in November, according to the China Passenger Car Association. Tesla signed a deal with China’s Shanghai government in 2018 to set up a factory there, and that is also now the first foreign Tesla R&D center. Tesla’s financial filings show the company secured a $1.4 billion loan in 2019 from Chinese state-run banks to build the Gigafactory Shanghai.
Tesla announced on Jan. 2 that it delivered over 936,000 vehicles globally in 2021.
Tesla did not respond to the Washington Examiner's request for comment.