China’s Un Forgotten Hero, Dr Li Wenliang

First death anniversary of the Chinese doctor who tried to warn people about the coronavirus outbreak. Tributes were paid to commemorate his effort.

On the 30th December 2019, emergency warnings were issued to local hospitals about the sudden rise of Pneumonia cases. Proceeding that, Dr. Li Wenliang, a doctor in Wuhan, came across a patient’s report with a high level of ‘Sars coronavirus’, similar to the Sars 2002 epidemic China had experienced. However, he determined that the virus strain had been subtyped and was different than previous Sars. He tried to warn his fellow medics and advised them to take protective measures to ensure their safety. His warnings became viral and caught the attention of the Chinese government.

The Chinese government wanted to cover up the Coronavirus situation initially, which is why they responded by admonishing Li and warning him against spreading fabricated information. Thereby, silencing his efforts to bring attention to the rising disease that was spreading like wildfire. He himself died on the 7th of Feb after contracting the virus while treating a Coronavirus patient. This resulted in a wave of public anger and grief over the reaction of the Chinese government’s handling of the outbreak. People also began to pressurize the government to exonerate Li and finally, the Chinese government gave in to the pressure and honored Li as a ‘hero’.

One year later, Dr. Li Wenliang is still remembered as the unforgotten hero that he is. His page on Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter, has become a site for people to leave messages to commemorate him for his effort. Hundreds of thousands of people have turned to his Weibo page over the past year to call out the government, demanding a public apology for Dr. Li. While others have turned his Weibo page into a rare space to express their trauma of the ongoing pandemic.

The Chinese government continues to censor and remove comments on his page but people claim that despite these efforts, Dr. Li cannot be removed from their hearts. He risked his life to warn others despite the repercussions and for that, they would always remember him as the unforgotten hero that he is.


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