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China exonerates coronavirus whistleblower

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 3/20/20, 11:58 am

China has vindicated Li Wenliang, a physician who spoke up about the burgeoning pandemic in the city of Wuhan and later died of COVID-19. The Chinese police force on Friday revoked its admonishment of Li, and the Communist Party’s disciplinary body issued a “solemn apology” to his family. Officials said they punished the two police officers involved. Li and seven other doctors raised an alarm about the new coronavirus on social media in late December before the government’s official confirmation.

Why the reverse in approach? China faced international backlash over its attempt to silence early, unofficial reports of the outbreak. The country has continued to report a decline in cases this week without independent confirmation. The National Health Commission said all 39 new cases recorded on Friday came from people who contracted the disease in other countries.

Dig deeper: Read Julie Borg’s report on how doctors and governments are harnessing technology to fight the pandemic.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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