Coronavirus: Chinese turn Wuhan doctor’s last online post into digital ‘wailing wall’
Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old doctor in the Chinese city of Wuhan, died of the coronavirus on February 6. More than a month prior to that, he went online to warn friends of a deadly virus storming his hospital, only to be reprimanded by the Chinese police for “spreading rumors.”
He became a hero in China when his warnings proved true, and thousands of Chinese consider him a ‘martyr’ after his death.
Dr. Wenliag had been a keen user of Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter. He posted his last message on February 1, saying: “Today the nucleic acid test result is positive.”
“The dust has settled, and the diagnosis is finally confirmed.”
Five days later, he died.
His last, almost prophetic, post has become what some call an online ‘wailing wall’ of sorts, similar to the Western Wall in Jerusalem where people leave written prayers in the cracks.
The post has amassed over 877,000 comments.
People simply posted comments writing down their thoughts, feelings, and updates from their daily lives. Since some view him as a ‘hero’ who stood up to the authorities, they also expressed their frustrations with how their government has handled the coronavirus pandemic, and their relief that the lockdown in Wuhan was lifted.
Here are a few comments on the post, as translated by the New York Times:
“Dr. Li, I’ll watch a bit of TV before going to bed. Please go to bed early too. Love you.”
“I heard this is the only place on the Chinese internet where you can say anything. So here I am.”
“Dr. Li, the lockdown is ending in Wuhan! It’s ending! It’s ending!”
“Too much stress. But what is better than being alive, right?”
“My life is a mess. I’ll probably get divorced soon.”
“Dr. Li, I have a crush on a girl.”