Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on LinkedIn Share this on Sina Weibo Share this on Wechat Share this on LinkedIn Elon Musk (center), Tesla’s CEO, stands with Tesla’s vice president of sales Robin Ren (left) and Shanghai mayor Ying Yong (right) during an event at the site of the company’s manufacturing facility in Shanghai, China, in Jan. 2019. After four years of planning, Tesla finally broke ground on its planned $5 billion factory in the world's biggest auto market.Credit: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images On April 18, in a crowded showroom at the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show, a 32-year-old woman from Henan province named Zhang Yazhou climbed onto the roof of a raspberry-red Tesla Model 3 and began to scream. As onlookers turned their attention from the glitzy new cars, Zhang made an accusation that no automaker wants trumpeted: “Tesla’s brakes are not working! Tesla’s brakes are not working!” Her t-shirt and that of another woman standing nearby repeated the claim, which referred to a near-fatal accident Zhang and her father suffered in a Model 3 in February. Video of the incident flared across the Chinese internet. Soon it was international news. “Protesters upstage Tesla at China’s top auto show,” said CNN. Although Tesla quickly framed the incident as nothing more than a single act of lunacy, many observers declared it the inevitable first crack in Tesla’s China dominance. “Tesla’s China honeymoon appears to be coming to an end,” wrote a Bloomberg reporter. Subscribe, register or login to read the rest. Registered users can access a limited amount of content for free.Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.