The Chinese government has attempted to eradicate an unprecedented outpouring of grief and anger following the death of Li Wenliang, the doctor who tried to warn the world about the growing threat from the coronavirus outbreak.
In the hours after Li’s death from coronavirus was confirmed Thursday, Chinese citizens staged a rare collective protest online criticizing the government and officials for failing the doctor by silencing him and ignoring the threat posed by the coronavirus, which has now killed at least 637 people in China and infected at least 31,000 more.
Mentions of Li’s death flooded WeChat and Weibo, two of China’s most popular social media sites. Messages of grief quickly gave way to anger, with the hashtags “Wuhan government owes Dr. Li Wenliang an apology” and “We want the freedom of speech” quickly trending on Weibo.
As well as directly referencing Li’s death, online critics quoted the song “Do You Hear the People Sing,” referenced Article 35 of China’s constitution that provides for freedom of speech, and shared sections of the poem “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”
“This is not the death of a whistleblower. This is the death of a hero,” said one comment on Weibo.
But within hours, the government had wiped clean much of the anger and critical voices, part of its widespread campaign to silence any voices critical of the government’s response to the virus outbreak, particularly its delayed reaction to initial reports coming out of Wuhan in December.
Credit: Taken from article in Vice News
by David Gilbert|Feb 7 2020, 1:22pm