Get all your news in one place
100’s of premium titles. One news app. Zero ads. Just $10 per month.

Chinese whistleblowing doctor dies of coronavirus

Whistleblower: Doctor Li Wenliang, who first warned about the coronavirus, at a hospital in Wuhan. Photo credit: Li Wenliang/Weibo

A whistleblowing Chinese doctor who was reprimanded for “spreading rumours” about the coronavirus before it was officially recognised died on Thursday after testing positive for the virus, the hospital where he worked said.

Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist at a hospital in Wuhan, the city at the epicentre of the outbreak, was one of eight people reprimanded by Wuhan police last month for spreading “illegal and false” information about the coronavirus.

The Wuhan hospital where Li worked said in a statement on its Weibo account that he died at 2.58 a.m. local time on Friday.

All about the Coronavirus 

Li, who was 34, had told a group of doctors on Chinese social media and messaging platform WeChat that seven cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) had been confirmed linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, believed to be the source of the virus.

He posted a picture of a test result confirming a ”SARS-like” coronavirus in a patient sample, according to a screenshot of the WeChat conversations seen and verified by Reuters.


Li said on China's microblogging site Weibo on February 1 that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Reuters was unable to reach Li's family for comment.

A letter to Li issued by the Wuhan police bureau on January 3 said he had “severely disrupted social order” with his WeChat messages.

He was asked to sign the letter as a promise to stop such illegal behaviour immediately, and if he refused to comply he would face criminal charges.

China has now reported more than 600 deaths and 30,000 cases of the coronavirus. China has vowed repeatedly to be open and transparent in dealing with the coronavirus.

Related Stories
Chinese whistleblower doctor dies of coronavirus
China's state-run media has mistakingly reported that the widely praised doctor who blew the whistle on the deadly coronavirus had…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Chinese whistleblower doctor dies from coronavirus
A Chinese doctor who was detained by the communist government for sounding the alarm about the deadly coronavirus outbreak has…
Chinese Coronavirus Whistleblower Li Wenliang Dies of the Disease
Chinese doctor who was punished by police for trying to warn the world about the new strain of coronavirus succumbed…
'Hero who told the truth': Chinese rage over coronavirus death of whistleblower doctor
Demands for freedom of speech in the wake of Li Wenliang’s death have been censored by the authorities amid widespread…
Doctor silenced by Chinese state after warning about Coronavirus dies from the disease
Chinese doctor Li Wenliang, one of the eight whistleblowers who tried to warn of the virus, was arrested for his…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
News of whistleblower doctor’s death withdrawn as Chinese social media blows up
An earlier version of the story based on a Global Times report had said that doctor Li Wenliang has passed…