Chinese media lashes out at Elon Musk over Covid origin theory
A state-backed Chinese news outlet is calling out Elon Musk for appearing to endorse the lab leak theory of the origin of the coronavirus.
On Monday, an editorial from the Global Times accused the Tesla owner of “breaking the pot of China”, using a Chinese idiom akin to biting the hand that feeds, NBC reported. Tesla’s largest factory is in Shanghai, and one of its biggest markets is China.
“Relevant sides should stop hyping up the lab leak theory and stop smearing China and politicizing the origin tracing issue," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told the outlet.
The following day, Global Times published comments on its official WeChat page, arguing, “ridiculously, anti-China forces in the United States are again hyping the rumors that the coronavirus originated from a lab leak in Wuhan”.
On Sunday, Mr Musk responded to a video edit from a Twitter user insinuating the US funded viral research in China which produced a lab leak. Mr Musk wrote that Dr Anthony Fauci “did it via a pass-through organization”.
Federal health officials have denied funding viral research in Wuhan tied to any lab leak.
The account that Mr Musk was responding to has been flagged by the Anti-Defamation League for posting false claims about Covid and the 2020 election.
Discussion about the lab leak theory of Covid has heated back up in recent days, after the Wall Street Journal reported that the Department of Energy concluded in a classified document that a leak was the likely origin of Covid, though it noted its conclusion was backed with “low confidence”.
Other agencies, like the FBI, have reached similar conclusions, while some, like the CIA, remain undecided.
DOE told the paper it “continues to support the thorough, careful, and objective work of our intelligence professionals in investigating the origins of COVID-19, as the President directed”, but did not confirm the report.
“President Biden specifically requested that the national labs, which are part of the Energy Department, be brought into this assessment because he wants to put every tool at use to be able to figure out what happened here,” national security advisor Jake Sullivan told the Journal.