A Chinese state-run newspaper issued a warning to Tesla CEO Elon Musk after he shared a report on the US Department of Energy’s assessment of “low confidence” that the global Covid pandemic originated in a Wuhan laboratory.
CNBC’s Eunice Yun reported Tuesday morning about 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 ‘break the Chinese pot’ after Tesla and Twitter CEO answered to tweets claiming the Covid pandemic originated in a Wuhan research lab.
The proverb is similar to the idiom “bite the hand that feeds you,” Yun said. Tesla has a sprawling factory campus in Shanghai, and China is the electric car maker’s second-largest market.
The Department of Energy has concluded with “low confidence” that the Covid pandemic started in a Wuhan laboratory, but sources familiar with the matter stressed to NBC News that the conclusion is not considered very significant. The FBI reached a similar conclusion at the “moderate confidence” level in 2021.
China’s ruling Communist Party has been very sensitive to the issue, especially as it attracts foreign investment after months of zero shutdowns due to Covid sparked nationwide protests, Yun said.
Musk was not available for comment.
— CNBC’s Eunice Yoon contributed to this report.