Chinese netizens mourn Li Wenliang one year after his death while refuting Western exploitation
Published: Feb 06, 2021 12:40 PM

Photo: Li Wenliang

One year after Doctor Li Wenliang died from contracting the novel coronavirus in Central China's Wuhan, Chinese netizens flooded his social media account with messages mourning his passing and to send Chinese New Year wishes to his family while also denouncing the West's misappropriation of his death to attack China.

"Doctor Li, you can rest assured, we are much better now, and the pandemic in China has been controlled. I just got my second COVID-19 vaccine dose yesterday," one internet user said. 

"Hi Doctor Li, I had hotpot with my family in Wuhan last night. Spring Festival is around the corner; Happy Spring Festival to you and your family!" reads another comment. 

Wuhan Central Hospital, where Li worked, announced that Li passed away at 2:58 am on February 7, 2020, after emergency treatment.

Li's personal Weibo account has somehow turned into a tree hole for netizens to pour their happiness and sorrows ever since his passing, and so far, his Weibo page has gained over 1 million comments. 

Since early Saturday, Li's Weibo account was filled with candle emojis, deep gratitude and the personal experiences of netizens during the past year, although they knew they would get no reply.

"How are you, Doctor Li? I am applying for medical universities this year, please bless me," one netizen commented.

"Reading comments on your Weibo accounts has given me so much courage, and thanks, Doctor Li, our country has protected us well. You must stay well too," another internet user said.

In late December 2019, Li, an eye doctor, shared his concerns about an unknown, SARS-like disease with colleagues in a WeChat social media chat group. On January 3 Wuhan police reprimanded Li for spreading "online rumors" and required him to sign a letter of reprimand.

Following Li's death, an investigation team sent by the central authorities on February 7 asked the local supervisory body to undertake the rectification of the matter, hold relevant personnel accountable and announce the results in a timely fashion.

On March 19, Wuhan police revoked the reprimand order against Li, and Chinese authorities awarded the doctor, and 32 other people, May 4 Medals to commemorate their sacrifices in the fight against COVID-19.

Such comments drew a sharp contrast with Western media reports and the claims of politicians who, after nearly a year, were still sensationalizing the death of Li in order to attack China's initial handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Chinese netizens denounced Western media's intentional distortion of Li's story and China's response in the prevention and control of the pandemic.

"Why has Li been mentioned again and again by the West? They just want to use Doctor Li to smear China. Western media, like the BBC, have to know that distorting China's response in handling the pandemic will not save their countries from the suffering of the disease, and China was the first country to alert the world," one netizen said.

The BBC has released news items recording the situation in Wuhan one year after the coronavirus lockdown, but many Wuhan residents believed the carefully chosen settings, lighting and biased voiceovers showed some Western reporters' "sour grapes" mentality, and Chinese netizens also exposed and mocked the BBC's tricks of using editing methods to discredit China's anti-pandemic efforts and achievements.

Global Times

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