Tesla has taken legal action against Chinese media outlet PingWest over an alleged hit piece which claimed that Gigafactory Shanghai was being operated like a “sweatshop.” In a statement on Sunday, Beijing PingWest Interact Technology Co, the parent company of PingWest, noted that it received the indictment, a notice of responding to prosecution, as well as other affidavits from Tesla.
The materials were sent from the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Court. PingWest, for its part, stated that it has started responding to the lawsuit and is currently preparing necessary materials. The publication added that it would hand in evidence under the premise of protecting its sources, as noted by The Global Times. The news outlet also noted that it had sued Tesla for infringing on its right of reputation via the internet.
Tesla China’s assertive stance on PingWest was triggered by a critical report from the news agency which featured a number of shocking allegations against Gigafactory Shanghai’s operations. The publication claimed, among others, that employees were working under “sweatshop” conditions, and that even simple amenities such as food were limited.
PingWest further alleged that Tesla China was cutting corners to speed up the production of vehicles like the Model S (an error considering that the Model S is not produced in China), making the cars from Giga Shanghai inferior to those produced in the United States.
“PingWest has found that the insanely high production volume has not been the direct result of the technological advancement that Tesla is known for, but rather the same old high-intensity manual labor that still plagues many industries inside China,” the publication wrote.
The electric car maker’s Chinese division responded promptly to PingWest’s piece, with Tesla China’s vice president for external affairs Tao Lin dubbing the allegations as “outrageous.” Other Tesla executives, including some who were no longer with the electric car maker, issued their support for the company as well. Tesla China executives also declared that legal action would be taken against the publication. True to their word, this legal action has now been initiated.
PingWest would be required to submit any relevant counter evidences, if it has any, before February 8, 2021.
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