The death of Chinese doctor Li Wenliang, who first raised an alarm about the coronavirus outbreak, has sparked outrage among citizens in the virus-hit country. According to media reports, Chinese nationals are furious and are now demanding freedom of speech after authorities initially tried to prevent the spread of the news of the deadly virus outbreak. Li was sent to jail for 'spreading false rumours' after he shared the news with colleagues on social media and warned them about the contagious disease. Chinese authorities initially tried to cover-up the outbreak but Li's social media message became viral and spread the news.
As per reports, Chinese nationals are expressing grief and sorrow over the death of the whistleblower and are also raging with anger over the initial cover-up by the authorities. Li's death became the top-read topic on China's microblogging platform Weibo, an indigenous version of Twitter. The death of Li became a viral and trending topic on the social media platform with an overnight view of 1.5 billion. Even state media blogs mourned Li's death and criticised Wuhan authorities for censuring him. Inteligencia across China also mourned Li's death with some demanding Wuhan authorities to build a statue in tribute to the late man.
The strong public reaction after the death of whistleblower appeared to have drawn top leadership's attention as the National Supervisory Commission, the country's highest anti-corruption agency, has reportedly decided to dispatch an inspection group to Wuhan to thoroughly investigate the issues related to Dr. Li Wenliang. Li was one of the eight doctors detained for what Chinese authorities said were spreading false rumours. The fates of the other seven doctors are still unknown.
According to the latest media reports, the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus has claimed more than 630 lives in China alone and the confirmed reported cases have reached up to 30,000 as of February 6. The disease is believed to have originated in a seafood market in Hubei's Wuhan city, the epicentre of the virus outbreak, where animals were being traded illegally. As per US CDC, confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in 27 other countries.