Elon Musk’s tweet on the origin of covid-19 called the Chinese state media


Chinese state media called out Elon Musk this week for responding to a post about the origin of the coronavirus, which may signal strained relations between the Tesla CEO and the country where many of its parts are made. auto.

The Global Times, a state-backed newspaper known for its hawkish US-China relations, posted an essay on social media this week criticizing Musk for promoting a “conspiracy theory ” about the coronavirus.

“At the same time, these statements of his continue to be used by the US right-wing and anti-China media as anti-China material,” the publication wrote.

Musk responded to a tweet that carried an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that Anthony S. Fauci, the former chief medical adviser to President Biden, funded the creation of the coronavirus.

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“He did it through a pass-through organization (EcoHealth),” Musk responded in a tweet. Musk previously pushed for covid restrictions during the pandemic and called for Fauci to be impeached. He also said last year that China’s “zero covid policy”, which was relaxed at the end of last year, made business difficult for Tesla.

Tensions with China could cost Musk. In China, companies that make comments deemed hostile to Beijing are quickly targeted by restrictions that harm their business in the country. China accounts for about 40 percent of Tesla’s sales, and the company has one of its largest factories in Shanghai.

The outspoken leader of Twitter and Tesla has drawn criticism from advocacy groups and some users since taking over the social media site last year, in part for restoring controversial banned accounts and most recently for defending “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams after several newspapers dropped the comic following Adams’ racist tweets. Musk has become a polarizing figure — some conservative leaders have praised his pledge to prioritize “free speech” online, but critics have expressed concern that his policies will increase hate speech on the site.

Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment. CNBC previously reported on the Global Times post.

In the Global Times post, the publication accused Musk of reposting a “conspiracy theory that slanders China.” This refers to the unfounded allegations of Fauci, which resurfaced after a report that the US Energy Department concluded the pandemic was probably caused by a leak from a laboratory in Wuhan. (There are two main theories about how the coronavirus infects people, according to The Washington Post’s Philip Bump.)

Musk’s freewheeling on global issues has at times drawn praise from Beijing, though the latest condemnation underscores the strained terms of the relationship.

In October of last year he drew praise from China’s former ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, now China’s foreign minister, after Tesla’s CEO suggested giving more control over Taiwan to the Chinese authorities in the form of in a special economic zone. The comments were sharply criticized by Taiwanese officials.

Musk’s criticism of US institutions has also been embraced in Beijing. Last week, China’s Foreign Ministry released a list of “hegemonic” wrongdoings by Americans, citing Musk’s accusations of government censorship on Twitter amid evidence of frequent “abuses.” of the US in the international community.

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