A Chinese state-run newspaper issued a warning to Tesla CEO Elon Musk after he shared reporting on the U.S. Department of Energy’s “low confidence” assessment that the global Covid pandemic originated in a Wuhan laboratory.
CNBC’s Eunice Yoon reported Tuesday morning on the warning from the social media pages of the Global Times, the English-language subsidiary of the government-controlled People’s Daily. The Global Times warned Musk that he could be “breaking the pot of China” after the Tesla and Twitter CEO responded to tweets that asserted that the Covid pandemic originated in a Wuhan research laboratory.
The saying is akin to the idiom “to bite the hand that feeds you,” Yoon reported. Tesla has an expansive factory campus in Shanghai, and China is the electric vehicle manufacturer’s second largest market.
The Department of Energy concluded with “low confidence” that the Covid pandemic began in a Wuhan laboratory, but sources familiar with the matter stressed to NBC News that the conclusion was not viewed as hugely significant. The FBI reached a similar conclusion at a “moderate confidence” level in 2021.
The governing Chinese Communist Party has been highly sensitive to the matter, especially as it courts outside investment after months of zero-Covid lockdowns prompted nationwide protests, Yoon reported.
Musk wasn’t immediately available to comment.
— CNBC’s Eunice Yoon contributed to this report.