During China Visit, Musk Goes Silent on Twitter

Chinese social media users praised 'Brother Horse'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2023 6:24 AM CDT
Musk, aka Brother Horse, Wraps Up Visit to China
In this photo taken Tuesday, May 30, 2023, China's Foreign Minister Qin Gang poses for photos with Elon Musk in Beijing.   (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China via AP)

Elon Musk took an unusually long break from Twitter this week as he visited China, where the platform is banned. In his first visit to the country since before the pandemic, Musk met with top officials including China's foreign, commerce, and industry ministers, Reuters reports. The two-day visit also included a visit to Tesla's factory on the outskirts of Shanghai. Officials said the Tesla CEO, who opened a plant in China in 2019, "exchanged views on the development of new energy vehicles and intelligent networked vehicles" with the industry minister, per the AP.

Officials said Musk, the latest Western CEO to visit China after the lifting of COVID restrictions, expressed willingness to "deepen mutually beneficial cooperation" during his meeting with the commerce minister. Musk's silence on Twitter, which ended after his private plane departed from Shanghai, was his longest in a year, Bloomberg reports.

On social media platforms in China, users praised Musk as a "global idol," reports Reuters. "Elon Musk is just great, if only China could have someone like Elon Musk," one user wrote. He is nicknamed "Brother Ma"—or "Brother Horse"—in the country because of the first character in his Chinese name. France24 reports that some users criticized Musk over a late-night photo showing him with hundreds of workers at the Tesla factory. "It feels a little outdated to make so many people stay into the middle of the night just to take some photos," one user wrote. Another quipped: "So you're all working overtime tonight, huh?" (More Elon Musk stories.)

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