China has apologised for acting against the doctor who tried his best to warn people about Coronavirus before succumbing to the disease himself while treating patients.
After Dr Li Wenliang warned his colleagues of the mysterious viral illness through social media in December, he was grilled by police in early January.
He was accused of “rumour-mongering”, and had to sign a letter promising that he wouldn’t repeat this.
In an unusual admission of error, the ruling Communist Party’s top disciplinary body has revoked its earlier decision – and sent a “solemn apology” to Dr Li’s family.
The 34-year-old doctor himself was infected in January while treating his patients and passed away early last month, sparking of nationwide anger and allegations of a cover-up.
The ophthalmologist, who worked in Wuhan, had raised the alarm about the coronavirus on December 30 – urging alumni of his medical school to wear protective clothing.
Dr Li told them seven patients from a local seafood market had been diagnosed with a SARS-like illness and were quarantined in hospital.
A screenshot of the message went viral on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, and Dr Li was accused of “rumour-mongering” by Wuhan police who tried to silence him.
The doctor was told to sign a letter that accused him of “making false comments” that had “severely disturbed public order”.