China apologises to family of doctor who died after warning about coronavirus

China has exonerated a doctor who was officially reprimanded for warning about the Covid-19 outbreak and later died of the virus. The Chinese Communist Party’s top disciplinary body said the Wuhan police force had revoked its criticism of Dr Li Wenliang that had included a threat of arrest.

It also said a solemn apology had been issued to Dr Li’s family. The Communist Party sent solemn apology to Dr Li’s family and disciplines two police officers for their role in the incident.

Dr Li Wenliang and seven colleagues were reprimanded in December for telling friends about the emerging coronavirus threat on social media.

Investigators found that Dr Li hadn’t disrupted public order with his actions – describing him as a professional who had fought bravely and made sacrifices.

His family have now received a financial contribution to his funeral, as well as workplace injury compensation. Two police officers, identified only by their surnames, had been issued “disciplinary punishments” for the original handling of the matter.

In death, Dr Li became the face of simmering anger  at the Communist Party’s controls over information, and of complaints that officials lie about illness outbreaks, industrial accidents, natural disasters and financial frauds, while punishing whistleblowers and independent journalists.

The 34-year-old ophthalmologist, who worked in Wuhan, had raised the alarm about the coronavirus on 30 December – urging alumni of his medical school to wear protective clothing.

Meanwhile, after seeing thousands of new cases daily at the peak of the city’s outbreak a month ago, Wuhan on Friday had its second consecutive day with no new confirmed or suspected cases.