The whistleblowing Chinese doctor who tried to raise the alarm about the coronavirus outbreak died in the early hours of Friday, a Communist party-controlled newspaper has now confirmed.
Li Wenliang, 34, was declared dead at 2.58am on Friday after “emergency treatment” at a hospital in Wuhan, the Global Times reported following hours of confusion over the ill doctor’s fate.
Earlier reports of his death had triggered an outpouring of grief and anger in Chinese social media with many hailing Li’s decision to speak out over the virus despite the risks of doing so in his authoritarian country.
A Communist party-controlled newspaper, the Global Times, reported that Li had died earlier today – prompting outrage among many Chinese citizens.
But the state-run newspaper subsequently deleted the report from its official Twitter account and claimed Li was still alive.
Li Wenliang is currently in critical condition,” the Global Times claimed in the early hours of Friday, local time. “His heart reportedly stopped beating at around 21:30. He was then given treatment with ECMO [extracorporeal membrane oxygenation],” it added.
A post on the official Weibo account of the hospital where Li was reportedly being treated also said he was “currently in critical Condition.
Li died a few hours after the retraction.
In December, Chinese police had targeted Li for “spreading rumours” after he posted a warning on social media about a cluster of cases of a flu-like disease that had been treated at his hospital.
Seven patients were in quarantine at that time and the disease symptoms reminded him of Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome). He urged colleagues to wear protective clothing at work. He was threatened by the police to keep silent; after he became ill in January, he broke his silence speaking to the New York Times.
“We profoundly regret and mourn this death,” the Wuhan City central hospital said in a brief statement on its official statement. see remainder of the story in the Guardian: And The latest Corona updates internationally here: