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Culture

How The Chinese Regime's Silencing Of Whistleblowers Turned A Local Outbreak Into A Global Epidemic

By S.G. Cheah·· 7 min read
dr li whistleblower silenced by chinese government
TheStar.com

It’s mind-boggling for people like us, the citizens in the free world, to imagine a government so capable of intentional evil. And yet, that is exactly how the Chinese Communist government of China operates. It’s an authoritarian regime that has historically caused the death of countless millions. Once you understand that, you will understand why we are dealing with this unprecedented global health crisis of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic today.

Recently, there have been news reports about how patient zero of the Wuhan coronavirus was traced back to as early as November 17. By December, Chinese scientists were already aware of the existence of the deadly virus and alerted Beijing about it. What was the Chinese government’s response? They received a gag order from China’s National Health Commission, with instructions to destroy the samples. Basically, the first critical month was spent covering up the crisis instead of taking preventive measures to stop the outbreak from worsening. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control Tried To Provide Help During the Early Stages of the Outbreak 

In fact, back in early January, when news broke out about this new deadly virus, American representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control alerted the American government, and America offered to send a team of experts from the CDC to help with the investigation for the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. The Chinese government refused to authorize this request.

America offered to send a team of experts from the CDC to help investigate the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan but the Chinese government refused.

So, it’s almost like a bad joke now to see how the public is celebrating China’s recent offer to send mask and test kits to the European countries and America when they wouldn’t even allow America to send experts from the Center for Disease Control to help deal with the outbreak at the very beginning. Had it been tackled early on, we would have helped stop the spread of infection during its early crucial stages. 

China Refusing the CDC’s Help May Have Turned a Local Epidemic into a Global Pandemic

The American government kept extending this offer for almost a month, back when the total number of infected in China was under 5,000 and the number of deaths was only about 100. Today, two months later, the number of infected in China is over 80,000 and deaths from the virus are estimated at over 3,000. Honestly, no one can tell if these numbers are real because China’s lack of transparency means that these numbers are not reliable.  

The very fact that China would rather let their own people die from the virus than accept help from the CDC in early January in order to help contain the outbreak should tell you everything you need to know about how this Communist regime deals with a public health crisis. 

Chinese Government Putting the World in Danger 

When representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention visited Wuhan on January 8 to assess the situation, local Wuhan health officials overseeing the CDC’s visit intentionally withheld information that hospital workers had been infected by patients. Had the representatives from the CDC been made aware of that, they would have been able to tell that this was a telltale sign of a contagious virus spreading from human to human. Officials in Wuhan insisted that only those who came into contact with infected animals could catch the coronavirus.

Local Wuhan health officials overseeing the CDC’s visit intentionally withheld information that hospital workers had been infected by patients. 

If you want to feel sad and/or angry, read this BBC article published on January 9, the day after the CDC representatives’s visit, which states, “it is still unclear how the illness is transmitted, with health officials saying no cases of human-to-human transmission had been confirmed as yet.” China knew. China lied. China covered it up.

The Truth Will Always Emerge 

It should be known that even though the Chinese Communist Party tried their best to lie and suppress the truth, many social media users in China were aware of the problems in Wuhan (as early as mid-December) because medical personnel were sharing and discussing the mystery illness on their group pages at Weibo and WeChat. Instead of treating the news of the illness seriously and taking the necessary actions, like informing the public so they’d be aware and could take precautions against infection, the Chinese authorities tried to suppress these “rumors.” 

The Heroic Whistleblower

No, instead China arrested these doctors who were just discussing the problems they encountered at work with their fellow colleagues. Among these doctors was the heroically brave Dr. Li Wenliang. You may know by now how he was the whistleblower who informed the public about the Wuhan virus and how he later succumbed and died from it.  

Dr. Li was a 34-year-old ophthalmologist working in Wuhan. On December 30, Dr. Li informed his fellow medical professionals in a chatroom about an alarming new mysterious illness he had observed while at work. He mentioned how the symptoms and diagnosis resembled the SARS outbreak from the early 2000s and warned other medics to wear protective clothing to avoid infection.

The Hero We Need

Since there is no such thing as freedom of speech in China, his conversation was monitored and on January 3, he was summoned to the Public Security Bureau. There they made him sign a letter, accusing him of "making false comments" and "severely disturbing the social order". If it isn’t clear by now, this was the Chinese regime’s attempt to make him lie to the public, just like they did. 

Dr. Li informed his fellow medical professionals in a chatroom about an alarming new mysterious illness he had observed while at work.

Thankfully, Dr. Li would not be intimidated into silence. He had a history of speaking up for what he believed was right. Once, he even openly defended a journalist who was investigating government ineptitude because he thought the journalist was brave enough to report on the truth. He eventually broke the news of what had happened to him to the public on January 10. He condemned the Chinese government for their inaction and for trying to silence him. He also continued to inform the public about the virus. 

Symbol of Defiance and Free Speech

Perhaps the reason that finally drove him to put his life in danger by speaking out was that he had been infected by the Wuhan coronavirus himself. Dr. Li had unknowingly treated a glaucoma patient who had the illness two weeks earlier. On February 6, he succumbed to the Wuhan coronavirus and died. He left behind a 5-year-old son and a pregnant wife who is expecting in June.

Since his death, Dr. Li has become a symbol of courage in the time of adversity. The Chinese public-at-large, when they heard the news of his death, finally revolted at the lies and broke their silence just as he did. They too started to condemn the Chinese government for the cover-up. They finally saw how the regime caused the tragic death of the brave doctor who was not only unjustly silenced for trying to tell the truth, but he was also bullied for trying to help save the lives of everyone around him.

Closing Thoughts

If there is one thing we can learn from this tragedy, let that lesson be about how crucial freedom of speech is. Authoritarian regimes will always try to silence dissent.  To paraphrase Edmund Burke – evil thrives in silence. And sometimes, this silencing of free speech by a tyrannical regime will lead to a global pandemic. From the silencing of Dr. Li to hiding the truth from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control, we have solid examples of how the suppression of speech and information about the Wuhan coronavirus by the Chinese government has led the world directly into the current catastrophe of a global health crisis that we, the citizens of the world, have to suffer under today.  

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