China Mourns Doctor Who Told Everyone About the Coronavirus
On February 7, 2020, Dr. Li Wenliang died of the novel coronavirus, a virus he had warned the Chinese public against, but was forced into silence by the Chinese government. In December 2019, he was arrested and detained because of his alleged “rumormongering,” according to a CNN report. He worked at the Wuhan Central Hospital where he fought the virus that is now threatening to spread across the world.
"Our hospital's ophthalmologist Li Wenliang was unfortunately infected with coronavirus during his work in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic," the hospital said. "He died at 2:58 am on Feb 7 after attempts to resuscitate were unsuccessful."
In December, Wenliang posted on the Chinese messaging app WeChat that seven patients from a local seafood market had been diagnosed with a SARS-like illness and were quarantined at the Wuhan Central Hospital where he worked. Hours after his posting, Chinese police accused him of spreading rumors, then detained him.
Wenliang was admitted to a hospital on January 12 and then tested positive for the novel coronavirus on February 1.
“I want freedom of speech” trends on Chinese social media
In China, thousands of people expressed anger over Wenliang’s death and the apparent silencing he was put through by the government. His death triggered a mass call for freedom of speech on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.
Topics like “we want freedom of speech,” “freedom of speech,” and “Wuhan government owes Dr. Li Wenliang an apology” trended on February 7 on the social media platform, with “freedom of speech” gaining more than one million views.