CNBC reports The Global Times, a Chinese state-run paper, warned Elon Musk about pushing the covid “lab leak” theory. Reporter Eunice Yoon SAYS The social media post asked if Musk had “broken the Chinese pot,” which is akin to asking if he’s biting the hand that feeds him.
Ever since Musk announced his intention to buy Twitter, it seems certain that at some point, the service’s content will put him at odds with the Chinese Communist Party, as Nilay Patel wrote after the deal was finalized:
Are you eager for the Chinese government to find ways to threaten Tesla’s huge business in that country because of the content that appears on Twitter? Because it will happen.
How quickly we’ve come to the most obvious sticking point is not surprising, but I’m still a little surprised that this saber-rattling of something China doesn’t like on Twitter is being posted by Elon Musk himself.
China is Tesla’s second largest market, home to one of its gigafactories, and a source of materials key to the production of electric cars. Bloomberg It was reported in January that Tesla’s Shanghai factory expansion was delayed due to government concerns about Starlink, so this isn’t the first time his car company has been affected by other efforts.
Musk responded to tweets claiming the virus originated in a Chinese laboratory. The tweets cited the news, first reported by Wall Street Journal, in a classified Energy Department report concluded, with “low confidence” that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the source of the virus. A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry called on the US government to “stop defaming China” and “politicize” the process of tracing the origin of the virus. the Global Times The post said Musk’s tweets and retweets were used to “frame” China.
Twitter under Musk may have been under pressure from government censorship in the past, but now the owner’s tweets are the problem. other Bloomberg report from 2021 noted how Tesla’s response to the Chinese government, with apologies and respect, is very different from the tone in the US, where Musk sometimes hangs government officials and invites followers. create new acronyms for agencies like the SEC.