Thousands of people left messages on the social media account of the late Chinese COVID-19 whistleblower Li Wenliang on the anniversary of the day he learned of possible pneumonia-causing virus cases in Wuhan and shared the information with fellow doctors.
On Dec. 30, 2019, Li, an ophthalmologist at a hospital in Wuhan where the Sars-CoV-2 virus outbreak was first detected, saw a medical report showing potential SARS coronavirus cases were confirmed in the city, he wrote in a post on his Weibo account on Jan. 31.
In early January, after the information on “SARS cases” was shared in a WeChat group, Li was reprimanded by the local police, according to the same Weibo post.
On Jan. 12 he went to hospital, infected with the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease and died on Feb. 7, 2020.
His death led to an outpouring of grief on social media at a time when people were on edge about the virus and authorities were under fire over a perceived lack of transparency and a hardline approach taken to whistleblowers like Li.
Since then confidence has grown in China’s response to the pandemic, but people have continued to post to Li online, especially on certain anniversary days as they did on Thursday.