China warns Elon Musk not to contradict its messages on COVID

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The State Gazette of China, the Global Timesessentially told Tesla CEO Elon Musk to scrap it after the billionaire tweeted about the US Department of Energy’s claim that the COVID pandemic started in a lab in Wuhan, China — a controversial theory that has proven divisive among researchers and government officials.

The stakes are quite real for the billionaire. Joining the debate and supporting the idea that COVID started in a Chinese lab could threaten a key relationship for Tesla, a company that has made significant strides in building and selling vehicles in the country.

Musk recently tweeted in response to a CNN report on the Energy Department’s assessment that it had determined — albeit with “low confidence” — that the COVID pandemic likely originated in a Chinese lab, a claim that clearly angered Chinese officials, as CNBC References.

Musk accused Anthony Fauci, who served as President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser during the COVID pandemic, used a “pass-through agency” to fund research that ultimately caused the virus to leak from a lab, an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory promoted by Republican Senator Rand Paul, debunked in 2021.

Now, to an exhibition spotted by CNBCEunice YunThe Global Times warned Musk that he could “break the China pot,” an expression that roughly translates to the English idiom “bite the hand that feeds you,” according to Yoon.

The lab leak theory that Musk tweeted used an argument that is “repeatedly used by the far-right and anti-China US media hostile to China to frame China.” Global Times argued, as translated by Yoon.

On the weekend, the Wall Street Journal first reported in a classified intelligence report circulated among lawmakers, revealing the Energy Department’s conclusion that the COVID pandemic likely began in a Wuhan lab.

This means that both the Department of Energy and the Federal Bureau of Investigation now support the lab leak theory. According to WSJHowever, four other agencies, as well as a national intelligence group, do not support the theory and argue that the virus was mostly the result of natural transmission.

It’s a thorny issue that has caused rifts between both sides of the political aisle in the US since the start of the pandemic. But experts agree, we’ll likely never get a firm answer on whether or not COVID started in a lab — a debate that will likely continue to erode already strained international relations as time goes on.

Now, whether it will threaten Tesla’s tenuous base in China adds to the drama. After all, Musk hates being told not to do something.

READ MORE: China’s CCP warns Elon Musk not to share Wuhan lab leak report (CNBC)

More on lab leak theories: The Lab Leak Theory is a tragic hall of mirrors that will probably never have a satisfactory answer

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