12,500 people passed away due to COVID four years ago.Dr. Li Wenliang
Despite online censorship, tributes continue to pour in for Dr. Li Wenliang, the young ophthalmologist from Wuhan who first alerted his colleagues to the novel coronavirus.
On the third anniversary of Dr. Li’s death, numerous Chinese internet users posted messages in the comments section of his last Weibo post. This platform has been referred to as China’s “Wailing Wall.” (CDT has provided translations of these comments from the Chinese public, including a detailed analysis in 2021. Our editors also regularly save new content from the Wailing Wall in both Chinese and English, and create a monthly Chinese-language post and video feature.)
This week, the CDT editors have preserved several essays and social media posts honoring and highlighting various aspects of Dr. Li’s legacy. One initial tribute, shared on the WeChat platform,导筒directube (dǎotǒng
On directube last week, a video was uploaded titled ” “.Four Years,” included a few simple screenshots from Dr. Li’s Weibo account, including his January 31, 2020 post from the ICU, after he had been diagnosed with COVID. Many commenters thanked 导筒directube for posting the reminder. “He is the only stranger I will miss for the rest of my life,” wrote Weibo user 郎®もも. Other commenters marveled at the passage of the intervening years. “Four years just flew by,” wrote one Weibo user. “It seems like a lifetime ago,” said another.
CDT also republished “
We are not qualified to tell him to rest peacefully.,” a long-deleted classic WeChat post from Liao Baoping that was
The initial censoring occurred in February of 2020.
The piece is a heartfelt homage to the bravery of Dr. Li, featuring a pen-and-ink illustration of him donning a physician’s attire, spectacles, a Wuhan Central Hospital name badge, and an N95 respirator.
In her poignant post “Four Years On,” WeChat influencer “Princess Minmin” reminisced about…Dr. Li’s integrity and willingness to speak the truth:
Being honest is a highly esteemed trait. We hold dear the legacy of Dr. Li Wenliang for speaking the truth.
In the future, it is possible that the events of the spring of 2020 may be forgotten by most. However, the lasting message of Dr. Li Wenliang’s words will remain.
In a well-functioning community, it is important to have multiple perspectives and opinions.”
This will be remembered.
According to the ancients, there are three eternal aspects of life: deeds, words, and character. By speaking a phrase that will be forever remembered, Dr. Li Wenliang has achieved immortality.[Chinese]
It has been four years, do you still recall Dr. Li Wenliang?
“WeChat blogger Er Xiang reflected on the impact of Dr. Li’s legacy in both personal and societal remembrance.”
The passing of Dr. Li was not just the loss of one person, but a shared memory and experience. It is important to remember these collective events, but without a written record, our personal recollections will fade away. This is why these words and images hold great significance.
Thankfully, Dr. Li’s Weibo account is still active, providing a written archive of his thoughts. It has become a virtual “Wailing Wall” where regular individuals from various locations gather to express their opinions, share daily experiences, and even their sorrows. I have come across posts from individuals expressing their struggles and feelings of hopelessness, followed by responses of support from strangers. People visit to greet Dr. Li, engage in casual conversations, divulge personal secrets, or seek solace for their problems.
Fortunately, even after four years, people have not forgotten about him. Today, several of my friends are reposting Dr. Li’s photos and posts on their WeChat Moments, and many are leaving comments on his final Weibo post. One individual wrote, “Dr. Li, they still have not broadcasted…”
The second season of the show ‘Joy of Life’. (庆余年2, Qìng Yúnián 2). The pandemic is long over. The last four years feel like a dream.” Someone else wrote, “Dr. Li, it’s been four years and everyone still remembers you. I hope your family is safe and sound.” [Chinese]
A WeChat article by Zhang Sanfeng (also known as Zhang Feng), “Li Wenliang and a New Sort of Faith
The article examines the almost sacred status that Dr. Li has achieved in the public perception.
He is not only remembered by people, but also considered a type of confessor and a source of spiritual nourishment. This concept has never existed in Chinese culture before, but it does now.
Li Wenliang has been elevated to the status of a saint, embodying the suffering and pain endured by a society as a whole, despite his innocence. He has become a symbol of selfless sacrifice for the greater good.
He has become the core of the “new culture” that has arisen in China in recent years. Both remembering and regretting are essential elements of creation: even as people mourn, they must also find the strength to hold onto hope.
He will continue to stay until the true rebirth occurs.[Chinese]
In 2024, similar to previous years, there were numerous social media commemorations for Dr. Li from various countries, including these shared on X (formerly known as Twitter).
On February 6th, we remember the passing of Dr. Li Wenliang, a whistleblower who bravely tried to warn the public about Covid-19. He tragically lost his life to the disease. Rest in peace, Dr. Li. https://t.co/AxnecyB45V
— Phelim Kine “老 康“ (@PhelimKine) February 6, 2024
On the fourth anniversary of the passing of Dr. Li Wenliang in the San Francisco Bay Area, there will be a flower memorial at the Sather Gate of the University of California, Berkeley on February 6th. Everyone is welcome to bring flowers and share photos.
— 周锋锁 Fengsuo Zhou (@ZhouFengSuo) February 6, 2024
On this date, February 6th, we remember the passing of Dr. Li Wenliang, who bravely exposed the truth about COVID-19 but tragically fell victim to the same virus. Let us honor his memory and recall how he was unjustly silenced and persecuted for his courageous actions.
— 中国人权-Human Rights in China (@hrichina) February 6, 2024
Incredible journalistic investigation by The New York Times in 2022 regarding the death of #LiWenliang and the reason why February 6, not 7, is the correct date of his passing. #CovidIsNotOver
The final days of a Chinese doctor who sounded the alarm about Covid-19.
— Andréa Worden, J.D. (@tingdc) February 6, 2024
this to me remains one of the most iconic images of the pandemic https://t.co/6IgjiuQp4x
“Please provide your responses and remarks in English – Chenchen Zhang 🤦🏻♀️ (@chenchenzh) February 6, 2024.”
CDT’s Wailing Wall archive
This was compiled by Tony Hu.