Hours after the news that Chinese doctor who tried to warn about the coronavirus outbreak came out, Chinese media and social media platforms began voicing rare fury. Li Wenliang, the first doctor to have sent a message to fellow medics warning of a virus he thought looked like Sars, died after contracting the virus while treating patients in Wuhan. This news has sparked widespread public anger and grief in China demanding freedom of speech, echoing the sentiments of the 1989 Tiananmen uprising.
With rumours that the doctor was silenced by the Communist Party authorities over the outbreak in December last year, citizen took to social media to lash out of government. In no time, news of Dr Li’s death became the top trending topic on Chinese social media, garnering an estimated 1.5 billion views. Citizen on social media demanded the Wuhan government to issue a public apology to the Doctor’s family.
China’s leadership is now facing accusations of downplaying the severity of the virus and initially trying to keep it secret. Though the Chinese leader Xi Jinping assured that his government is capable of defeating the epidemic, the government has admitted shortcomings and deficiencies in its response to the virus, which has now killed 636 people and infected 31,198 in mainland China.