Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s posting of an ancient Chinese poetry on social media on Tuesday sparked a frantic debate over its meaning, with many complimenting him for his grasp of the book.
Musk posted “Humankind” in English before tweeting an abridged version of the “Seven Steps Verse” in Chinese on his official Twitter accounts. Musk is known for his mysterious Twitter tweets.
The highly metaphorical poetry, which is taught in all of China’s elementary schools, depicts the relationship between two brothers from a royal family during China’s warring Three Kingdoms period and emphasises the need of getting along.
On Tuesday, discussions regarding how to interpret Musk’s posts dominated Weibo, with over 100 million views. In mainland China, Twitter is forbidden.
Musk had been tweeting about two competing dog-themed cryptocurrencies, shiba inu and dogecoin, this week, according to popular interpretations. Despite the fact that cryptocurrency trading is illegal within China’s borders, his tweets are recognised for affecting cryptocurrency markets.
Musk’s remark could be a reference to a heated exchange he had with the executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme on Monday regarding donations, according to Reference News, a magazine under the state-run Xinhua news agency.
Musk’s posting of the Chinese poetry on Weibo was a change from his usual Weibo messages, where he has 1.9 million followers and routinely praises China for its space programme and economic success over the last three decades.
Despite deteriorating US-China relations and regulatory criticism of Tesla, which has a plant in Shanghai, Musk, who is also the founder of rocket company SpaceX, has remained a popular figure in China. A request for comment on the Chinese poetry was not immediately returned by Tesla.