Chinese 'Hero' Doctor Who First Warned About Coronavirus Passes Away
The 34-year-old ophthalmologist - Li Wenliang passed away in the early hours of Friday in the same hospital where he used to work.
The whistleblower Chinese doctor who first warned the world about coronavirus died of the disease in the early hours of Friday. He was one of eight people reprimanded by Wuhan police last month for spreading "illegal and false" information about the coronavirus.
The 34-year-old ophthalmologist, Dr Li Wenliang passed away on Friday in the same hospital where he used to work.
The deadly virus has now killed more than 630 people in and contracted more than 31,161 people in mainland China. The virus has also travelled to other continents.
Dr Li had warned his classmates in a private WeChat message about a SARS-like virus spreading in Wuhan, the epicentre of the epidemic. Following this, he was summoned to the Public Security Bureau where he was told to sign a letter. In the letter he was accused of "making false comments" that had "severely disturbed the social order".
Chinese people mourned his death and were agitated against the leaders for muffling the voice of dissent. Irk against the leaders comes at a time when these leaders are already facing the wrath of people across the world for failing to contain the virus.
Some even considered Li to be a 'Hero'. The top two trending hashtags on Weibo (social media platform) were "Wuhan government owes Dr Li Wenliang and apology" and "We want freedom of speech".Both hashtags were quickly censored.
Confusion Surrounding Li's Death
At around 10:00 pm local time in China, news of Dr Li's death started circulating on the Chinese social media. Around 11 in the night, Chinese state-run tabloid Global Times took to Twitter and confirmed the death of the doctor. Communist Party's official newspaper People's Daily reiterated the death of the doctor on Twitter. At around 11:30, WHO in a Tweet says it is deeply saddened by the death of the doctor. However later deletes it.
However, at midnight, the Wuhan hospital released a statement saying that the doctor has not died but is in critical condition. After this, both the Global Times and People's Daily deleted their previous Tweets on the doctor's death. At around 3:28 am on Friday, the Wuhan Hospital announced the death of the doctor on Weibo.
We deeply mourn the death of #Wuhan doctor Li wenliang, who unfortunately got infected with novel #Coronavirus while battling with the epidemic. After all-effort rescue, Li passed away on 2:58 am, Feb. 7. pic.twitter.com/mbYA3wB4pn— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) February 6, 2020