Dr Li Wenliang: Covid-19 Whistleblower's Legacy Lives on Through His Social Media Page

Since the death of the Chinese doctor due to Covid-19, thousands of people posting their thoughts, questions and personal issues on his social media page.

Dr. Li Wenliang, the Chinese whistleblower who tried to alert people about the coronavirus pandemic, died on February 7 last year due to Covid-19 related complications. But his legacy lives on through his social media page.

Thousands of Chinese people who could not thank the doctor for sounding the alarm at an early stage of the pandemic, still remember Dr. Li. Several people flock daily to the late Chinese doctor's social media page on Weibo to write to him.

Before Dr. Li's first death anniversary came, a user wrote: "I cried again. It'll soon be February 7 again. I still remember," while another said, "Li Wenliang, your death weighs heavier than even the Tai Mountain."

Dr. Li Wenliang
Dr. Li Wenliang Twitter

A Chinese Hero

Dr. Li, who was an ophthalmologist in Hubei's Wuhan city, tried to alert people about the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan. Local authorities initially punished the doctor accusing him of spreading rumors.

After an investigation, it was found that Wuhan authorities acted "inadequately" when they silenced Dr. Li and failed to follow "proper law enforcement procedure."

Last year, Chinese authorities accepted their fault and apologized to the family of the late doctor. Beijing investigators, who were looking at the case of Wuhan whistleblower, appreciated Dr. Li's efforts and characterized it as a positive influence that helped to raise awareness. But it was too late — he was gone already. The virus killed him.

Li Wenliang
Wuhan's Dr Li Wenliang and the letter of admonition he received from the Wuhan Police Bureau ordering him to stop spreading rumors about Coronavirus Weibo/ Wikimedia Commons

But many still remember him and haven't forgotten his contribution. For some people, his Weibo page became a confession platform, while others use it to recall their loved ones who lost their lives because of Covid-19. Some of these people wrote:

"Will I pass my graduate exams tomorrow, Dr. Li?"

"Dr. Li, my boyfriend just broke up with me. Now my future is so uncertain."

"Yesterday my friend died. He loved playing the guitar. Maybe you two will meet."

"One year on, my respect still stands for you, the whistleblower!"

"I'm so afraid that I'll forget you, Dr. Li."

Even though internet activities in China are heavily monitored and censored, people continue to write about the country's political situation on Dr. Li's Weibo page. One user said: "​Society is changing so quickly ... I'll stay true to myself. You and I, we are the same people, getting by every day but with our conscience intact."

However, after the death of Dr. Li, millions of internet users posted the phrase "I can't" or "I do not understand". Many of them asked: "Why do we ignore those who speak the truth? Does what I think matter?"

Since then, Dr. Li's social media page became a blackboard to many people, who are still writing to the doctor about several issues, knowing the fact that he will never reply.

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