A Chinese doctor who was targeted by the police after warning about the coronavirus in the first days of the outbreak before it had been made public has been quarantined in his hospital with a SARS-like illness, CNN reported on Tuesday.
Dr. Li Wenliang posted the warning in his medical school alumni group that seven people from a Wuhan seafood market had been quarantined in his hospital with a SARS-like illness, telling CNN that “I only wanted to remind my university classmates to be careful” because of the painful memories of the SARS epidemic that killed hundreds of people in 2003 that the Chinese government tried to cover up.
But his intention of private messages to friends went viral, and Li said that “When I saw them circulating online, I realized that it was out of my control and I would probably be punished.”
Three days after Wuhan authorities announced the outbreak of the coronavirus, police accused him of rumormongering and forced him to sign a statement admitting his “misdemeanor” and promising not to commit additional “unlawful acts,” according to CNN.
China’s Supreme Court last week criticized Wuhan police for punishing the “rumormongers,” as Li’s story has helped sparked anger across China against state censorship concerning the illness and a delay at first in warning the public.
Following the court criticism, the Wuhan police released a statement saying eight people had only committed “particularly minor” offenses for spreading “unverified information.”
Brian Freeman ✉
Brian Freeman, a Newsmax writer based in Israel, has more than three decades writing and editing about culture and politics for newspapers, online and television.
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