Chinese Probe Criticizes Police Reprimand of Virus Doctor

BEIJING (AP) — China’s top disciplinary body has criticized how police handled the case of a Chinese doctor who was reprimanded for rumor-mongering after he shared a warning with others about the coronavirus in the early days of the outbreak.

Dr. Li Wenliang later died from the virus, sparking a national outpouring of grief and criticism of authorities on social media.

Dr. Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who got in trouble with authorities in the communist country for sounding an early warning about the coronavirus outbreak, died Feb. 7, 2020, after coming down with the illness. (AP Photo)

Chinese media reports late Thursday said an investigation by the State Supervision Commission, China’s top disciplinary body, found that the reprimand was inappropriate. It urged the police to revoke the reprimand and hold those involved accountable.

Li, an eye doctor, was one of several medical workers detained in early January for spreading word about the then-unknown disease. Authorities have been accused of covering up the initial outbreak, endangering heath workers and allowing it to spread more widely.

China’s supreme court later criticized the police, but the ruling Communist Party also tightened its grip on information about the outbreak.

In death, Li became the face of simmering anger at the party’s controls over information and complaints that officials lie about or hide disease outbreaks, chemical spills, dangerous consumer products or financial frauds.

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