China Threatens Musk For Supporting Lab Leak Theory

On Monday, the Chinese Communist Party criticized Elon Musk for seemingly endorsing the theory that COVID-19 may have leaked from a Chinese laboratory.

After Elon Musk retweeted the recent assessment by the U.S. Department of Energy that COVID-19 may have originated in a Wuhan laboratory, Chinese state-run media cautioned the Tesla CEO that he was jeopardizing his ties with China. This warning comes amid heightened tensions between Beijing and the U.S. following the downing of a Chinese espionage balloon and ahead of a congressional hearing on China.

After Musk commented on the Department of Energy’s findings, that COVID-19 likely originated from a laboratory accident in China, the Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times published an editorial that threatened Musk for questioning whether Anthony Fauci had funded the development of the coronavirus at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The editorial asked, “Elon Musk, are you breaking the pot of China?”

“Breaking the pot” is a phrase that roughly translates to “biting the hand that feeds you.” This is significant as China is the second-largest market for Musk’s electric car company Tesla, which operates a large production facility in Shanghai.

Due to the severe lockdowns imposed by the Chinese regime, China’s economy was significantly affected by reports that the coronavirus originated in the country. Consequently, the Chinese government is highly sensitive to such assertions and has faced increased scrutiny since the Department of Energy’s report on the matter.

The Energy Department is one of two federal agencies, along with the FBI, that have supported the theory that the virus leaked from a laboratory. Initially, the theory that COVID-19 could have originated from a lab leak in Wuhan was widely disregarded as a conspiracy or a “fringe” theory. Democrats and major news outlets labeled it as “misinformation,” and social media companies even suppressed its circulation during the early stages of the pandemic.

During an interview on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray stated that his agency has assessed “for quite some time now” that a possible lab incident in Wuhan is the most likely origin of the pandemic.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Energy Department arrived at its conclusion as “a result of new intelligence.”