‘Free speech absolutist’ Elon Musk pursues 'like-minded Chinese partners' in column for China's online censor

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Elon Musk has become the first foreigner to write an article for a Chinese magazine launched by China’s official agency that oversees online censorship.

The 51-year-old SpaceX founder claimed he was invited earlier this year by China Wangxin, the magazine of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), to write an article about his “thoughts on the vision of technology and humanity.”

Titled “Believe in technology, create a better future,” Musk celebrates the success of his business endeavors, particularly SpaceX, Tesla and Neuralink, in the lengthy article published in the magazine's fourth issue in July.

I want to do everything we can to maximize the use of technology to help achieve a better future for humanity,” Musk wrote, according to a translated version. “To that end, any area that contributes to a sustainable future is worthy of our investment.”

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Whether it's Tesla, Neuralink, or SpaceX, these companies were all founded with the ultimate goal of enhancing the future of human life and creating as much practical value for the world as possible – Tesla to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy, Neuralink for medical rehabilitation, SpaceX for making interstellar connections possible,” he continued.

Musk, who describes himself as a “free speech absolutist,” became the first foreigner to write for the CAC’s magazine, which typically features pieces written by professors, government officials and state-owned enterprise executives. Free speech absolutism dates back to the 17th century, but it was not until the 20th century when it was "discussed as a defined principle" by Alexander Meiklejohn, a free speech advocate and a philosopher.

Musk made headlines in April after he announced his plans to buy Twitter for $44 billion, hoping to turn the social media platform into a free speech "town square" – a seemingly direct contrast to his recent decision to write for China's online censor.

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In April 2021, the CAC launched a hotline so that people could report fellow internet users who attack the ruling Communist Party and defame national heroes.

Near the end of his article, Musk said he hoped “more people will join us in our fight to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy.”

I also welcome more like-minded Chinese partners to join us in exploring clean energy, artificial intelligence, human-machine collaboration, and space exploration to create a future worth waiting for,” Musk concluded.

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Featured Image via TED / Beijing Channel

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