Skip to content

SARS Whistleblower Died; the Authorities Banned Public Mourning

Jiang Yanyong, a retired Chinese military doctor known as the “whistleblower” of the 2003 SARS epidemic, died Saturday at the age of 91 at the People’s Liberation Army General Hospital in Beijing (also known as the 301 Hospital)  after he had contracted pneumonia and other illnesses that led to heart and lung failure.

A friend of Jiang Yangyong in Beijing told Radio Free Asia that the authorities had told Jiang’s family to keep his funeral low-key. “No public funeral, no public mourning or flower baskets, and no media interviews.” Wreaths or elegiac couplets must be given to Jiang’s wife, who will then submit them to the authorities for approval. The bureau has even written a eulogy for him.

Because of his exposure of the SARS epidemic in China in 2003, as well as his call for the authorities to correct the name of the 1989 student movement, from 2003 until the end of his life, Jiang’s personal freedom was constantly restricted . He also publicized his experience of saving the lives of students who were shot during the 1989 Tiananmen massacre.

During the 2019 sessions of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Jiang wrote letters to Chinese President Xi Jinping and the NPC, asking them to redress the 1989 student movement.

The friend said that after writing the letters in 2019, Jiang was again placed under house arrest. “He was checked and not allowed to see outsiders. We couldn’t even see him, and his home phone was cut off. Even his son couldn’t contact him. Dr. Jiang was mentally hurt and his mood was negative. He suffered from Alzheimers in his later years. He wanted to go out to see a doctor, but the guards would not let him. Recently he contracted pneumonia and was admitted to the 301 Hospital.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, March 14, 2023