Tesla has yet to find a good solution for its issues with Zhang Yazhou. The customer that made a viral protest at the Auto Shanghai 2021 is now suing the company and its vice president for global operations, Tao Lin, for defamation. Yazhou demands, among other measures, RMB 50,000 (£5,562) in compensation for mental anguish, according to The Beijing News, a state-owned outlet that also presented pictures of the lawsuit.
We heard about that thanks to Global Times, another Chinese government-owned media company that tweeted about the lawsuit.
The Tesla client was not happy with the accusations the company made against her behaviour. Tesla said on Weibo that her father was too close to the car in which they crashed and that she did not accept what the company proposed to investigate and solve the case. To make things worse, Lin gave interviews on April 19 saying that Zhang was very "professional" and someone behind the scenes might have helped her organize the incident.
This is why Yazhou decided to sue Lin, Tesla Shanghai, and Tesla Beijing. She asks RMB10,000 of each of them according to the documents presented by The Beijing News. The other RMB20,000 probably comes from other reasons that the two pages of the lawsuit do not show.
The Tesla customer also demands the three defendants to immediately stop their allegations, apologise in writing to her – publishing their apologies in the national media and on Weibo (where Tesla blamed her father for the accident) – and pay for the lawsuit expenses.
The lawsuit was filed at the People's Court of Beiguan District, Anyang, in China’s Henan province on May 6. It also clarifies some other details of the accident. Yazhou says she could only count on other affected customers to help her and that her mother had to go to the hospital due to the crash.
The Tesla customer also said that the three defendants “should have actively negotiated and dealt with” the product quality dispute “in an attitude of seeking truth from facts and focusing on customers.”
However, Yazhou said they “publicly made false statements that were made out of the blue and violated the facts in order to create a negative image” of her. They would also have “widely spread it on the Internet, which seriously misled society.”
The lawsuit also states that “the behaviour of the three defendants not only severely lowered the social evaluation of the plaintiff,” which caused serious for her. She would not be “subjected to a lot of Internet attacks every day.” Finally, she said that she and her family members “are under tremendous mental pressure.”
Again, it is worth mentioning that The Beijing News and the Global Times are considered official Chinese government means of communication. After five Chinese government departments saying they would investigate the company’s conduct, being in these outlets is literally not good news.