Li Wenliang: ‘Wuhan Whistleblower’ Remembered One Year On
Thousands paid tribute to Li Wenliang ahead of the first anniversary of his death on 7 February 2020.
Dr Li had tried to warn fellow medics of a disease that looked like Sars – another deadly coronavirus.
But he was told by police to “stop making false comments” and was investigated for “spreading rumours”.
Dr Li’s death prompted a rare wave of grief and public anger over the Chinese government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
As hospitals filled up in Wuhan, the government was accused of downplaying the severity of the virus and concealing the extent of its spread.
Only when anger reached fever pitch was Dr Li exonerated and honoured as a hero by the Chinese government.
What tributes have been made?
China does routinely censor comments on social media.
But Dr Li’s personal page on Weibo – the Chinese equivalent of Twitter – has become a rare space for users to express themselves about the trauma of the coronavirus pandemic.
Hundreds of thousands of messages have been left in the comments section of his posts.
Many more appeared on Saturday.
“Dr Li, history and the people will never forget you!,” one wrote in the comments of Dr Li’s final post.
“I thought everyone would have forgotten you after a year,” another wrote. “I was wrong, you live forever in the hearts of the Chinese people.”
Citizens in Wuhan have also been paying tribute.
Close to the hospital where Dr Li worked, Li Pan told Reuters: “He was the first to tell us about the virus.
“He must have considered the impact would be huge, but he still raised the alarm. That was really brave.”