Guess what did Elon Musk mean with his posting of a Chinese poem?

Wang Qingchu
The founder of the US electric car titan and rocket manufacturer SpaceX posted a famous poem by Cao Zhi, a prince of the State of Wei in China's Three Kingdoms Period (AD 220-280).
Wang Qingchu
SSI ļʱ

Tesla founder Elon Musk posted a Chinese poem on his Twitter and Weibo accounts around the same time this morning, arousing worldwide curiosity about what he wants to say.

The charismatic CEO of the US electric car titan and rocket manufacturer SpaceX posted a famous poem by Cao Zhi, a prince of the State of Wei in China's Three Kingdoms Period (AD 220-280).

Guess what did Elon Musk mean with his posting of a Chinese poem?

Elon Musk posts a Chinese poem on his Twitter this morning.

七步诗 (qī bù shī) – The Quatrain of Seven Steps

煮豆燃豆萁,

(zhǔ dòu rán dòu qí)

Boiling beans by burning the beanstalks,

豆在釜中泣.

(dòu zài fǔ zhōng qì)

The beans are sobbing inside the pot.

本是同根生,

(běn shì tóng gēn shēng)

Both of them were from the same root,

相煎何太急?

(xiàng jiān hé tài jí?)

Why should the beanstalk torture the beans so eagerly?

Guess what did Elon Musk mean with his posting of a Chinese poem?

The same tweet appears on Musk's Weibo account.

Poet Cao, the third son of King Cao Cao, is known for his talent and wisdom. After his brother Cao Pi became the king, he was asked to compose a poem within seven-step duration, or he would be executed.

Cao Zhi wrote the poem within the time to expose his brother's brutal oppression. The phrase "同根" (tonggen) means the beanstalks and the beans grow from the same root, thus should not torture each other.

Musk's tweet soon attracted an outpouring of fervent speculations as to what he wanted to convey. Netizens scrambled to offer their translations and interpretations.

Chinese netizens say the meaning of the poem coincides with a concept brought up by Chinese President Xi Jinping – a community of shared future for mankind, or 人类命运共同体.

Others guess that Musk was referring to his recent row with the United Nations' World Food Programme whose chief David Beasley said billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos should "step up now, on a one-time basis." He said that only 2 percent of Musk's wealth can solve world hunger.

Musk quickly posted another post on his Weibo this morning, saying if the WFP could explain exactly how more than US$6 billion would solve the global famine problem, he would immediately sell his Tesla stock and make a donation, seemingly answering what his earlier poem post was up to.

Whatever the billionaire means, his Chinese tweet certainly gave a boost in promoting ancient Chinese culture, introducing the classic poem, the ancient wisdom and Chinese history behind it to the entire world with his huge fan base.

Guess what did Elon Musk mean with his posting of a Chinese poem?

Musk follows up with a post on Weibo, asking the WFP to open its books and let the world see how the money is spent. He wrote: If the WFP could explain exactly how more than US$6 billion would solve the global famine problem, I would immediately sell my Tesla stock and make a donation.

SSI ļʱ
Special Reports

Top