Staff at some Chinese government offices have been instructed not to park their Tesla Inc vehicles inside government compounds because of security concerns over cameras installed on the cars, two people with knowledge of the matter reported.
The people noted that officials of at least 2 government agencies in Shanghai and Beijing have been told verbally by supervisors not to park their Tesla electric vehicles at work. It wasn’t clear how many cars were affected, they said as they spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
While sensors and cameras that can assist driving feature in many automakers’ vehicles, the people with knowledge of the matter said the restriction currently only applies to Tesla vehicles. In March, Tesla cars were barred from entering some military complexes in China, sources told Reuters then, citing security concerns over vehicle cameras.
The restriction is a new indication of China’s continued wariness of the U.S. electric carmaker amid tensions with the United States.
Tesla Inc is boosting its engagement with mainland regulators and beefing up its government relations team, industry sources told Reuters previously, as the electric car company is under greater scrutiny after safety and highly publicized customer service complaints in China.
Tesla vehicles have many external cameras to assist drivers with parking, changing lanes and other features. The company’s boss Elon Musk has commented frequently on the value of the data that Tesla cars capture which can be used to develop autonomous driving.
Days after the March ban on Tesla vehicles in military complexes, Musk appeared by video at a high-level Chinese forum, saying that if Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, it would be shut down.