His death, announced at 9.30pm yesterday evening, was "delayed" by the authorities until 3am. Li Wenliang had reported the epidemic as early as December, but the police silenced him by denouncing him for "fake news". Online criticism demands "freedom of expression" for the Chinese. In Wuhan there is a shortage of doctors: the sick remain without treatment for days.
Beijing (AsiaNews) - Li Wenliang, the doctor who first raised the alarm about the coronavirus and who the police silenced, died in the hospital after contracting the infection from a patient. His death - first denied, then admitted by the state media - is provoking ferocious comments on the web, even if the internet police cancel most of them.
Last December, the 34-year-old ophthalmologist sent messages to his colleagues warning them of a virus similar to that of Sars. But the internet police immediately intervened and accused him of "spreading rumors" that disturb public order. He later contracted the virus and was interned in Wuhan Central Hospital. The photo we publish is a "selfie" that he has published on social media. According to some media reports, Li is married and his wife is about to due have a son in June.
His death at Wuhan Central Hospital sparked a series of comments celebrating Li as an "everday hero" who gave his life for his people, in contrast to the "fat leaders" who kept the news of the virus silent for more than 40 days, interested in maintaining "stability" and their power.
Other posts call for human rights, freedom of expression and press freedom, given that it is precisely this lack that led to the epidemic. Still others demand that the Wuhan government apologize to Li Wenliang.
From a government point of view, Wuhan authorities only said that they are "sorry" for the doctor's death. The central government has been busy trying to "dose" the news of his death.
News of Li Wenliang's death emerged around 9.30pm yesterday evening, also reported by Party media outlets, the Global Times and the People's Daily. But hours later the news was canceled, saying that Li Wenliang was actually undergoing special treatment. Journalists and doctors say members of the government came to the hospital, forcing everyone to change their posts, saying the doctor was still alive. But around 3 am, the doctors announced his death.
Meanwhile, the situation in China is increasingly serious. At 10 o'clock this morning, official figures say that deaths due to the coronavirus have risen to 637; there are 31211 cases of infection; 26369 suspected cases
Testimonials from Wuhan say medical personnel cannot cope with all the requests for treatment and analysis related to the virus. In the newly built hospitals and conference rooms transformed into medical rooms, crowds of patients lie on the ground and no doctor has been seen for days (see video).