A Chinese state-run newspaper warned Tesla CEO Elon Musk after reporting with “low confidence” the US Department of Energy’s assessment that the global Covid pandemic originated in a laboratory in Wuhan.
CNBC’s Eunice Yoon reported the warning on the social media pages of the Global Times, the English-language affiliate of the CCP-controlled People’s Daily, on Tuesday morning. The Global Times warned Musk that he could “break the pot of China” after the Tesla CEO and Twitter responded to tweets claiming the Covid pandemic originated in a research lab in Wuhan.
The saying is similar to the idiom “bite the hand that feeds you,” Yoon reported. Tesla has a sprawling factory campus in Shanghai, and China is the electric vehicle maker’s second-largest market.
The Energy Ministry concluded with “low confidence” that the Covid pandemic started in a laboratory in Wuhan, but sources familiar with the matter told NBC News that the conclusion was not considered extremely significant. The FBI came to a similar conclusion in 2021 at a “moderate level of confidence.”
China’s ruling Communist Party has been very sensitive on the matter, especially as it is courting outside investment after months of zero-Covid lockdowns sparked nationwide protests, CNBC’s Eunice Yoon reported.
Musk was not immediately available for comment.
— CNBC’s Eunice Yoon contributed to this report.