Social media

Elon Musk goes viral on Chinese social media with ancient poem

Tesla CEO Elon Musk stands in the foundry of the Tesla Gigafactory during a press event. year.

Patrick Pleul | image alliance | image alliance | Getty Images

The publication on Tuesday of a former Chinese poem by Tesla CEO Elon Musk on social media prompted Chinese internet users to engage in a frenzied debate over its meaning, with many also praising him for his knowledge of the text.

Musk, who is known for his cryptic Twitter posts, wrote “Humankind” in English before posting an abridged version of the “Seven Steps Verse” in Chinese on his official Twitter and Weibo accounts.

The highly allegorical poem describes the relationship between two brothers from a royal family during the Warring Three Kingdoms period in China, which is taught in all primary schools in China about the importance of getting along.

Discussions of how to interpret Musk’s posts trended strongly on Weibo on Tuesday, receiving more than 100 million views. Twitter is blocked in mainland China.

Popular interpretations suggested that Musk was referring to two rival dog-themed cryptocurrencies, the shiba inu and the dogecoin, which he tweeted about this week. His tweets are known to shake up the cryptocurrency markets, although trading in cryptocurrencies is prohibited within China’s borders.

Reference News, a publication by the state-run Xinhua News Agency, said Musk’s message could be a nod to a heated exchange he had on Monday with the executive director of the United Nations World Food Program in the United Nations. subject of donations.

Musk’s post of the Chinese poem on Weibo marked a departure from his typical posts on the platform, where he has 1.9 million followers and often praises China for its space program and its economic growth over the past three decades.

Musk, who is also behind rocket maker SpaceX, has remained a popular figure in China even amid deteriorating US-China relations and regulatory criticism of Tesla, which operates a factory in Shanghai. Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Chinese poem.