Tesla vehicles are reportedly being denied entry into parts of Chengdu, a major Chinese city that will host the World University Games starting on Friday, when President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony.
Authorities in the city of 21 million people in southwest China's Sichuan province have told law enforcement agencies to block Teslas from some areas related to the event and Xi's visit, Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
This is not the first time Tesla vehicles have been prevented from entering some areas in the country; EVs made by the US automaker were barred from Chinese military bases and housing compounds in recent years. In addition, Teslas are banned from a resort town that hosts Communist Party summer retreats.
All these restrictions are caused by concerns about sensitive data being collected by cameras built into Tesla vehicles, despite the fact the US EV maker and its CEO Elon Musk have vowed to follow local data rules. Musk has stated in the past that Teslas do not spy in China or any other country, and all data collected is stored on domestic servers.
Gallery: 2022 Tesla Model 3
A video circulated on Chinese social network Douyin showing a Tesla driver being denied entry to a venue in Chengdu. The clip is no longer available, but Bloomberg claims it showed a traffic officer explaining to the driver that he was following an official order for the games.
The city of Chengdu is imposing wider traffic restrictions during the sports event that runs until August 8, including closing off some streets to civilian drivers. China's President Xi Jinping will attend the games opening ceremony and host leaders including Indonesia's Joko Widodo.
China is Tesla's second largest market worldwide after the United States and home to Giga Shanghai, the company's biggest factory that accounts for more than half of its global output.
The EV maker has been in the spotlight in the past for alleged privacy breaches. Most recently, Reuters reported in April that workers at the automaker's San Mateo, California office shared videos and images taken by customer cars' cameras in private one-on-one conversations, including footage of children, crashes, road-rage incidents, and private moments.
Tesla EVs are equipped with eight exterior cameras and one in the cabin, allowing for "360 degrees of visibility at up to 250 meters of range" for the Autopilot ADAS, according to Tesla's website. The cameras are also used as dash cams and for remote monitoring.