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Wuhan Police’s Reprimand of Coronavirus Whistleblower Dr. Li Wenliang

February 6, 2020

On the afternoon of December 30, 2019, Dr. Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist at the Wuhan Central Hospital, posted two messages in a Wechat group of his medical school classmates: “Seven cases of SARS were diagnosed connection with Huanan Fruit and Seafood Market” and “The latest news is that the coronavirus infection has been confirmed and the virus type being identified.”

On January 3, 2020, the Wuhan Police issued this notice: “Some netizens posted and forwarded false information online without verification, causing adverse social impact. After investigation and verification by public security organs, eight offenders were summoned and handled in accordance with the  t law.” Two days later, Dr. Li received a Reprimand from the Wuhan Public Security Bureau, declaring that the statement that "seven cases of SARS connected to the Huanan Fruit and Seafood Market have been diagnosed” was not true. (See below for HRIC’s translation of the Reprimand.)

On January 12, Dr. Li was receiving treatment in the observation unit of the Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine of Wuhan Central Hospital due to fever and cough. On February 1, 2020, Li Wenliang was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus pneumonia. A Weibo post by the Wuhan Central Hospital announced the death of Dr. Li at 2:58 a.m., February 7.

[HRIC Translation]

Wuhan Public Security Bureau, Wuchang Branch, ZhongnNan Lu Street Precinct


Wu Gong (Zhong) Zi (20200103)

Subject of reprimand: Li Wenliang: Sex: Male; DOB: [REDACTED]
Identification type and number: [REDACTED]
Current address (Domicile): Wuhan
Employer: Wuhan Central Hospital

Illegal Activities (time, place, participants, number of people, what problems are reflected, consequences, etc.)

Made untrue statements on the WeChat group “Wuhan University Clinical Medicine Class of 2012” about seven cases of SARS connected to the Huanan Fruit and Seafood Market having been diagnosed.


[This public security organ] now warns and reprimands you, in accordance with the law, on the illegality arising from your making untrue statements on the Internet. Your behavior seriously disrupts social order. Your behavior has exceeded the scope permissible by law and violated the relevant provisions of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Public Security Management Penalties, which is an illegal act!

[This] Public security organ hopes that you will actively cooperate with its work, follow the advice of the police, and stop the illegal behavior. Can you do it?

Answer: “Yes” [handwritten, with a fingerprint]

We hope that you calm down and reflect carefully, and solemnly warn you: If you are stubborn, don’t reflect and repent, and continue to carry out illegal activities, you will be punished by the law! Do you understand?

Answer: “Understood” [hand-written, with a fingerprint]

Subject of reprimand: Li Wenliang
January 3, 2020
Reprimanders:    Wu Guifang, Xu Jinhang
Employer: Wuhan Public Security Bureau, Wuchang Branch, Zhongnan Lu Street Precinct [official seal]

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