China asked Elon Musk not to sell Starlink within the country

Source: The Verge


In an interview with the Financial Times last week, Elon Musk revealed that figures in the Chinese government have asked him directly to withhold Starlink access within China. Musk told FT that, in the publication’s summary, “Beijing has made clear its disapproval of his recent rollout of Starlink…in Ukraine” and “sought assurances he would not sell Starlink in China.”

It’s unclear from the description whether Musk agreed to Beijing’s request, but Starlink’s service map shows no plans to deploy in China. Adjacent countries like Taiwan, Mongolia and Vietnam are listed as “pending regulatory approval.”


Starlink’s service map shows no plans to deploy in China


Offering a connection to the internet that sidesteps conventional service providers, Starlink has been a popular idea for circumventing network-based censorship around the world. Most recently, Starlink enabled access in Iran in response to widespread protests and accompanying censorship. Internet censorship in China, however, is far more organized and persistent — and any ongoing attempt to evade it through Starlink would likely incur retaliation from the central government.

The anecdote is a reminder of how exposed Musk is to international pressures, even as he champions free speech principles in his public statements. As FT points out, Tesla maintains a factory in Shanghai, and the company has reportedly sold more than 80,000 cars in China. Musk has remained broadly aligned with Chinese government as a result, even authoring a column for a magazine run by the country’s internet censorship agency.

At the same time, Musk is more likely than ever to take ownership of Twitter. After months of confusing gamesmanship, Musk recommitted last week to purchasing the social network at his originally agreed price, telling a judge in his civil case with the company that he believes the deal will close before October 28. Twitter remains officially blocked in China.

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Robotaxis of Baidu are now permitted to operate without a safety driver in the car

Baidu has received permission for running a fully driverless robo taxi service in China.


About Baidu


Baidu, Inc. is a Chinese multinational technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products and artificial intelligence (AI), headquartered in Beijing’s Haidian District.[3] It is one of the largAest AI and Internet companies in the world. The holding company of the group is incorporated in the Cayman Islands.Baidu was incorporated in January 2000 by Robin Li and Eric Xu. The Baidu search engine is currently the sixth largest website in the Alexa Internet rankings.Baidu has origins in RankDex, an earlier search engine developed by Robin Li in 1996, before he founded Baidu in 2000.


Robo taxi in Beijing


CNBC reported, “China’s capital city has moved one step closer toward letting ordinary people take robotaxis with no driver in them.


In a first for the country, two Chinese companies — Baidu’s Apollo Go and — announced Thursday they received permission from Beijing city authorities to remove the safety driver for part of their robotaxi business in a suburban part of the city.” But they also said, “The cars will still need a staff member to sit inside, but not necessarily in the driver’s seat anymore.


It’s a move toward letting the companies run a robotaxi business without having to pay for staff to man the cars — fully eliminating the cost of a taxi driver. It remains unclear when the Chinese government would allow robotaxis to charge fares for rides without any human staff in the cars.”




According to Engadget, “There are some limits to the permits. Driverless Apollo Go vehicles will ferry paying passengers around designated zones in Wuhan and Chongqing during daytime hours only. The service areas cover 13 square kilometers in Wuhan’s Economic & Technological Development Zone (WHDZ) and 30 square kilometers in Chongqing’s Yongchuan District. The WHDZ has been overhauled over the last year to support AV testing and operations.”


Wentian module of China has been successfully launched

China finally launched its second module, called Wentian, to the Tiangong space station early Sunday morning. Space News reported, “China added a new experiment module to its space station Sunday, following a high-profile launch from the country’s coastal spaceport.


The Wentian experiment module launched atop of a Long March 5B rocket at 2:22 a.m. Eastern from the Wenchang spaceport on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, with crowds watching on from nearby public beach areas.


Wentian used its own propulsion system to match orbit with Tianhe, the core module of China’s under-construction space station, and completed rendezvous and docking with a forward docking port at 3:13 p.m. Eastern, July 24,  China’s human spaceflight agency confirmed.”


China’s purpose


The New York Times reported, “Space has immense prestige for the Chinese government, which sees each major launch as adding to its accumulation of space power, said Namrata Goswani, an author of “Scramble for the Skies: The Great Power Competition to Control the Resources of Outer Space.” Dr. Goswani added, “China is ahead when compared to the Russian space program in terms of its lunar and Mars program as well as military space organization,”


Space Fans


China’s space fans spread across the beach near the rocket launch area on Hainan Island were waiting to see the launch on rooftops at hotels along the beachfront. Zhang Jingyi, 26 said that, It was her 19th trip to “chase rockets,”.


Future Space Projects of China


According to The Verge, “In June, China sent the three-person Shenzhou 14 crew to Tiangong to prepare for Wentian’s arrival. Mengtian, the station’s third and final lab module, is set to launch on a Long March 5B in October. This will complete the Tiangong space station, forming a T-shaped structure once the final module has docked.” There are some problems found in the rocket that will be fixed before time.