- The doctor, Li Wenliang, had been silenced by the police after warning about the new coronavirus that has killed hundreds in China and sickened thousands.
- A memorial for Dr. Li Wenliang at Wuhan City Central Hospital on Friday.Credit…Chris Buckley/The New York Times
The New York Times
Date: Feb. 7, 2020
By: Li Yuan
They posted videos of the Les Misérables song “Do You Hear the People Sing.” They invoked article No. 35 of China’s Constitution, which stipulates freedom of speech. They tweeted a phrase from “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”
The Chinese public has staged what amounts to an online revolt after the death of a doctor, Li Wenliang, who tried to warn of a mysterious virus that has since killed hundreds of people in China, infected tens of thousands and forced the government to corral many of the country’s 1.4 billion people.
Since late Thursday, people from different backgrounds, including government officials, prominent business figures and ordinary online users, have posted numerous messages expressing their grief for the doctor, who contracted the new coronavirus, and their anger over his silencing by the police after he shared his knowledge about the virus. It has prompted a nationwide soul-searching under an authoritarian government that allows for little dissent.
“I haven’t seen my WeChat timeline filled with so much forlornness and outrage,” Xu Danei, founder of a social media analytics company, wrote on the messaging platform WeChat.
“Tonight is a monumental moment for our collective conscience,” he wrote in a later post.
Though there are some outspoken dissidents in China, their numbers have dwindled as the Communist Party under the leader Xi Jinping has cracked down repeatedly on lawyers, journalists and businesspeople over the past seven years. [FULL STORY]