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Public Opinion: Outpouring of Grief and Anger upon Death of Chinese Doctor Who Warned Others About Coronavirus

Li Wenliang, an eye doctor in Wuhan, China, was among the eight people (all physicians in Wuhan) who warned the public about the novel coronavirus. He passed away on the night of February 6, 2020.

According to a Chinese journal, people had been in critical condition when transferred to Wuhan Central Hospital on the afternoon of February 6.

BBC Chinese reported that the official Chinese media People’s Daily and Global Times, and a more outspoken news outlet The Beijing News all reported the passing away of 34-year-old Dr. Li at 9:30 p.m. February 6. However, within two hours, all these reports were deleted and could not be found online. Chinese media claimed that Dr. Li was still under recovery.

An outpouring of grief and anger appeared on China’s social media.

In what Al Jazeera called a “political resuscitation,” the Chinese authorities gave orders after Dr. Li’s heart had stopped beating to stop the resuscitation only to calm the public’s rage.

Al Jazeera‘s report was further confirmed by the People magazine and a number of online posts that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials in charge of Dr. Li’s treatment refused repeated requests from rescuing physicians to put him on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), and did it only when the higher up told them to do so. After Dr. Li’s heart stopped beating and the information was spread out, the CCP organization needed to soothe the public mourn and anger by putting the ECMO on to show they had tried everything possible and also to decide on the timing of the eventual announcement of Dr. Li’s death.

A blogger mourned on Weibo (China’s equivalent of Twitter), “Those who tell the truth are arrested for spreading rumors and those who tell nothing but lies become the leaders.”

1. Excerpt in Chinese:








Source: People Magazine, February 6, 2020

2.Source: BBC Chinese, February 6, 2020

3. Al Jazeera, February 6, 2020