Billionaire Elon Musk’s free speech absolutism didn’t jive with a Chinese communist propaganda outlet that appeared to resort to veiled threats when the Twitter owner spoke up on the latest report about the COVID lab leak theory.
Over the weekend, corporate media was left reeling as the U.S. Department of Energy joined the FBI in taking the position that, accidentally or otherwise, COVID had not come from nature, but rather most likely leaked from a lab. Since the world first learned of COVID-19, those outlets routinely dismissed such a likelihood as a mere conspiracy theory, much to China’s favor.
Sunday, the account of user Kanekoa The Great shared a supercut of former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci repeatedly denying that he had anything to do with funding gain-of-function research juxtaposed with reports on how the face of the COVID response would have accomplished exactly that.
“Dr. Anthony Fauci funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab, lied to Congress about it, and now both the FBI & the Department of Energy have concluded that the coronavirus originated at the Wuhan lab,” Kanekoa wrote. “Does that mean Dr. Anthony Fauci funded the development of COVID-19?”
To that prompt, Musk replied, “He did it via a pass-through organization (EcoHealth).”
He did it via a pass-through organization (EcoHealth)
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 26, 2023
By Tuesday, the Chinese Communist Party-run newspaper Global Times was endeavoring to put the billionaire in check over the factual statement as they warned Musk to consider where his support comes from.
As CNBC’s Eunice Yoon reported, a post from the CCP outlet cautioned the entrepreneur against “breaking the pot of China,” an expression she likened to “biting the hand that feeds you.”
On Twitter, she shared a screen capture of the Global Times original post and wrote, “#China Communist Party paper warns @elonmusk against pushing #COVID19 lab leak theory. @globaltimesnews posts on social media ‘Elon Musk, are you breaking the pot of China?’ (‘Breaking the pot after eating’ is Chinese ‘biting the hand that feeds you.’)
#China Communist Party paper warns @elonmusk against pushing #COVID19 lab leak theory. @globaltimesnews posts on social media “Elon Musk, are you breaking the pot of China?” (“Breaking the pot after eating” is Chinese “biting the hand that feeds you.”) https://t.co/iWmMZAOiGt pic.twitter.com/nN1lhMDlYq
— Eunice Yoon (@onlyyoontv) February 28, 2023
On its face, Musk’s post is clearly a shot at Fauci, but the Times seemed to go on to implicate the nation they were trying to defend as Yoon’s translation went on to read, “‘Some may think @elonmusk made those remarks only to attack Fauci,’ @globaltimesnews reads. But the posts he reposted ‘almost all link the origins of #Covid19 to China and the argument is repeatedly used by the US right wing and anti-China media hostile to China to frame #China.'”
“Some may think @elonmusk made those remarks only to attack Fauci,” @globaltimesnews reads. But the posts he reposted “almost all link the origins of #Covid19 to China and the argument is repeatedly used by the US right wing and anti-China media hostile to China to frame #China.”
— Eunice Yoon (@onlyyoontv) February 28, 2023
Since Musk’s brief comment referencing EcoHealth Alliance, which had been awarded roughly $8 million in research grants to study bat coronaviruses in China, he has not publicly remarked further on the lab leak theory; nor has he reacted to Global Times’ comment on his post. At this time, China remains the second-largest market for his electric vehicle company Tesla for which a factory is located in Shanghai.
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