'Brother Ma': China Fetes 'Pioneer' Elon Musk with 16-Course Dinner


Space entrepreneur, car manufacturer, and social media personality Elon Musk culminated a trip to communist China on Thursday after meeting a parade of China’s most powerful Communist Party officials, including Politburo members, and enjoying a 16-course feast in Beijing that was the toast of the state-controlled Weibo social media site.

Musk is reportedly in China in his capacity as the CEO of Tesla, an electric car company known for its vehicles exploding spontaneously. Last week, prior to Musk’s departure, the company faced a new scandal as an unknown whistleblower leaked a trove of private files showing the company struggling with “phantom braking” and other dangerous glitches.

On Wednesday night, Musk visited his Tesla “gigafactory” in Shanghai, taking a photo with his China team shared on Weibo by Tesla Global Vice President Grace Tao.

#Tesla CEO #ElonMusk arrived in #Shanghai on Wed night and visited the company’s Gigafactory in the city, photos posted by Tesla’s Global Vice President Grace Tao on her Weibo account showed.

Musk's private jet is scheduled to leave Shanghai on Thu morning and head to Austin,… pic.twitter.com/K9tilJ0xZf

The visit to his own company appeared to be the last stop on Musk’s itinerary in China prior to his departure on Thursday morning Beijing time. Musk began his visit to China with a meeting with Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who used his time with Musk to encourage American business leaders to invest in the totalitarian country. He later met with Commerce Minister Wang Wentao and Minister of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) Jin Zhuanglong and, according to Reuters, Chinese Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang, one of the most powerful members of the Communist Party Politburo.

In between these meetings, reports surfaced of Musk stopping by the ritzy Man Fu Yan restaurant in Beijing for a lavish feast in his honor, featuring a menu branded with his Chinese name, 马斯克 (Masike). The Chinese character for “ma” also means horse, so the menu, as circulating on Weibo, included art featuring horses.

Elon Musk's family name is "ma si ke" in Chinese, and "ma" means horse. The menu of the banquet welcoming his visit to Beijing on May 30 made sure that fact was given full play. pic.twitter.com/oMZIZ29fsU

The Global Times confirmed Musk’s stop at the restaurant and described his meal.

“After the meeting with Qin, Musk was said to have enjoyed dinner at a high-end restaurant in Beijing, according to photos circulating on China’s social media platforms,” the state-run newspaper relayed. “He was cordially received by the restaurant with a menu elaborately designed to contain the initial of Musk’s last name in Chinese and 16 dishes including geoduck with pickled cabbage and zhajiangmian, a traditional noodle dish topped with a rich soybean paste.”

The Global Times noted that the Communist Party, whose subjects face regular threats of food shortages in areas where elites do not live, similarly feted Musk’s mother, Maye, during her visit to the capital in March.

Weibo users, who face heavy censorship and potential prosecution if they do not echo the propaganda out of their government, have been the primary source of information for Musk’s trip. Musk has not used his own social media site, Twitter, throughout his stay in the country, as the Communist Party banned it long ago. Musk posted once on Weibo, however, applauding the Chinese communist space program.

On the Chinese state-controlled site, a search for Musk’s name in Chinese reveals a flood of laudatory comments, declaring him “comparable to Einstein” and a friend of the Chinese state. One post applauded him for promoting the Chinese-born Tom Zhu, who reportedly accompanied Musk to China, as Tesla’s senior vice president and potential future CEO.... (Read more)

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