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Dr. Li Wenliang, who was an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, had tried to raise alarm about the new coronavirus outbreak in late December, 2019 – weeks before authorities disclosed the full threat to the public – but was silenced by police for “spreading false rumors.” Li later contracted the disease and passed away on January 6, 2020. His death sparked nationwide grief and outrage. Anger and frustration over the Chinese government’s cover-up of the virus, and the inadequate measures taken early on to stop the spread, have reached a boiling point. Calls for accountability, transparency and freedom of speech have flooded Weibo and WeChat, overwhelming China’s internet censors. This article from news outlet Caixin is an interview with Dr. Li, published six days before his death. Caixin has since updated the article to address his passing.
About the Authors
Xin Jianxin, Gao Yu, Bao Zhiming and Ding Gang are coronavirus frontline reporters for Caixin, one of China’s leading and most trusted news outlets that often pushes the nation’s censorship boundaries.