Grief and anger: Chinese social media has exploded into near-unprecedented levels of grief and fury against the government, with calls for accountability and freedom of speech — sentiments rarely seen in China’s tightly-controlled online sphere.
The topics “Wuhan government owes Dr. Li Wenliang an apology,” and “We want freedom of speech,” soon began to trend on China’s Twitter-like platform, Weibo, before disappearing from the heavily censored site.
Images from outside the hospital where Li worked show a small memorial has been set up to honor the doctor.
Censors crack down: The public has been angry for weeks that Wuhan officials downplayed the virus and silenced whistleblowers like Li.
But the central authorities were largely able to keep this anger focused on local officials by allowing a rare amount of transparency and giving Chinese media a relatively free hand.
A relatable figure: Li resonated with the public because he wasn’t a Party cadre or police officer — he was an ordinary person who loved ice cream and TV. He’s infinitely more sympathetic than the steely-eyed men and women trying to control the narrative around his death.
Read the full analysis here.