Elon Musk is on America’s watchlist for China dealings

As outlined by Brody Mullins and Susan Pulliam at the Wall Street Journal this week, Elon Musk’s dealings with and praise for China have placed him on America’s must-watch list, not just with ordinary Americans but also Washington, DC legislators.

Senator Marco Rubio has taken a meaningful and impressive stance as a skeptic of Elon Musk, even though he is a top recipient of donations from the Tesla and SpaceX CEO.

Rubio introduced a bill last December that would prevent the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) along with other U.S. government agencies from giving contracts to companies that have suppliers with ties to China. The bill would mandate that U.S. space-launch companies with Chinese investments divulge more information about these investments.

It is indeed concerning at the very least that Mr. Musk holds classified information as the founder of SpaceX, given his relationships with foreign-based suppliers, which in turn have cozy ties to communist China.

To be sure, Musk has his positives, such as recently making Starlink satellite Internet available to Ukrainians, which gives them online access when conventional Internet fails. He also challenged Vladimir Putin to a fistfight. These are encouraging, of course, but it does not mean that Mr. Musk, or any other American doing business with and in China, should go on without the watchful eye of the U.S.  government with our national security in mind.

The causes for concern are many:

  • Lines are blurry at best between SpaceX and Tesla, as Tesla has large-scale operations in China. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) is trying to obtain classified information owned by Elon Musk to determine if SpaceX’s foreign suppliers in China have access to the same classified information.
  • Rep. Chris Stewart also seeks to obtain confidential briefings to determine if the Chinese communist government has any links to SpaceX (direct or indirect).
  • Chinese technology titan Tencent Holdings Ltd. acquired 5% of Tesla in 2017, which means 5% of Tesla’s profits will now accrue to Chinese owners. Tencent owns the messaging app WeChat, which President Trump sought to ban in the United States. President Biden is currently continuing a security review on the company.
  • China gave Tesla two loans in 2019 and 2020, as well as cheap land, among other incentives for a Chinese facility in Shanghai where Tesla assembles automobiles and battery packs.
  • Tesla opened a showroom on December 31, 2021, in the Xinjiang region after President Biden signed congressional legislation mandating that American companies making products there verify their products were not made with forced labor.
  • On March 4, 2022, China’s Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang, emerald that he “Had an inspiring talk with @elonmusk today…on cars on the road, stars in the sky, research of human brain, meaning of life on earth and our future into the space.” (emphasis added)

Senator Marco Rubio has said it is “naive and dangerous” to think the United States has shared interests with a “genocidal communist regime.” He correctly maintains we should cease cooperating with Beijing to prevent the undermining of freedom while strengthening Putin.

After all, it was at the Beijing Winter Olympics that Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced their “no limits” partnership. According to the New York Times, China told (not asked) Russia to wait to invade Ukraine until after the Olympics, which is precisely how things happened.

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), a senior member on the House Intelligence Committee, has said, I am a fan of Elon Musk and SpaceX, but anyone would be concerned if there are financial entanglements with China. Congress doesn’t have good eyes on this.

Clearly, Congress needs its eyes on China and Russia. All Americans need to have their eyes on China and Russia as well and report to their representatives when appropriate. 

We are all in this together, united in our support of Ukraine and skepticism against Russia and China. In the words of Senator Marco Rubio, to protect our national and economic security, we must ensure that Xi and the CCP pay a price for that partnership.

“We the People” of the United States have the power to do this. Stop buying Russian and Chinese products. Don’t invest in Chinese-owned companies, including GE appliances (owned by China-based Haier), Volvo cars, and AMC Theaters. There are plenty of American alternatives that will allow you to redirect your American dollars away from Chinese companies to U.S-based companies.

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