Chinese language SARS whistleblower Jiang Yanyong dies at 91

BEIJING (AP) — Jiang Yanyong, a Chinese language navy medic who revealed the total extent of the 2003 SARS outbreak and was later positioned beneath home arrest for his political outspokenness, has died, a longtime acquaintance and a Hong Kong newspaper mentioned Tuesday. Kong.

Jiang was 91 years outdated and died of pneumonia on Saturday in Beijing, in accordance with human rights activist Hu Jia and the South China Morning Publish.

Information of Jiang’s demise and even his identify have been censored in China, underscoring how he remained a politically delicate determine even properly into outdated age.

Jiang had been chief of surgical procedure on the Individuals’s Liberation Military’s most important 301st Hospital in Beijing when the military pressured its approach by the town to finish weeks of student-led pro-democracy protests centered on Tiananmen Sq.. , which precipitated the demise of lots of, presumably 1000’s, of civilians

In April 2003, because the ruling Communist Occasion suppressed information of the extremely contagious Extreme Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak, Jiang wrote an 800-word letter stating that there have been way more SARS circumstances than have been formally reported by the minister of nation well being.

Jiang Yanyong died of pneumonia on Saturday in Beijing, according to human rights activist Hu Jia and the South China Morning Post.
Jiang Yanyong died of pneumonia on Saturday in Beijing, in accordance with human rights activist Hu Jia and the South China Morning Publish.
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Jiang emailed the letter to state broadcaster CCTV and Hong Kong’s Phoenix Channel, which is pleasant to Beijing, and each ignored it. The letter was then leaked to Western media retailers who printed it in full, together with studies on the true extent of the outbreak and official Chinese language efforts to cowl it up.

The letter, together with the demise of a Finnish United Nations worker and remarks by famend physician Zhong Nanshan, pressured the lifting of the federal government crackdown, prompting the resignation of each the well being minister and the mayor of Beijing. Strict containment measures have been imposed nearly in a single day, serving to to comprise the unfold of the virus that had already begun to look overseas.

In all, greater than 8,000 individuals from 29 nations and territories grew to become contaminated with SARS, leading to at the least 774 deaths.

“Jiang had the conscience of a health care provider to deal with sufferers first. She saved so many lives with that letter, with out enthusiastic about the implications,” Hu informed The Related Press.

Passengers walk through the international flight arrivals hall at the Capital International Airport in Beijing on March 14, 2023.
Passengers stroll by the worldwide flight arrivals corridor on the Capital Worldwide Airport in Beijing on March 14, 2023.
AFP by way of Getty Pictures

Chinese language authorities later tried to dam media entry to Jiang, who retired with the rank of main common. He declined an interview with The Related Press, saying he had been unable to acquire the required permission from the Ministry of Protection.

Since 2004, Jiang and his spouse have been periodically positioned beneath home arrest for asking communist leaders for a reassessment of the 1989 protests, which stays a taboo topic. That was paying homage to Jiang’s earlier experiences when he was persecuted as a right-winger beneath Mao Zedong in the course of the Nineteen Fifties, Nineteen Sixties and Seventies.

In 2004, Jiang acquired the Ramon Magsaysay Philippine Public Service Award, thought of by some to be an Asian model of the Nobel Peace Prize. Within the quotation, he was praised for breaking “China’s behavior of silence and bringing the reality about SARS to gentle.”

Jiang was prevented from leaving the nation and the award was collected by his daughter on his behalf.

Three years later, he received the Heinz R. Pagels Prize for the Human Rights of Scientists from the New York Academy of Sciences, however was once more prevented from touring.

Echoes of Jiang’s expertise have been heard in China’s method to the preliminary outbreak of COVID-19, first detected within the central Chinese language metropolis of Wuhan in late 2019.

A Wuhan eye physician, Li Wenliang, was detained and threatened by police for allegedly spreading rumors on social media after an try to alert others to a “SARS-like” virus. Li’s demise on February 7, 2020 sparked widespread outrage in opposition to China’s censorship system. Customers posted opinions for hours earlier than censors moved to take away the posts.

Sympathy and anger over the therapy of Li and different whistleblowers led the federal government to reverse course and declare him and 13 different martyrs.

COVID-19 has killed almost 7 million individuals worldwide, together with an estimated 1.5 million in China, whose authorities has been accused of massively underestimating the true variety of deaths.

Jiang is survived by his spouse, Hua Zhongwei, a son and a daughter, in accordance with the South China Morning Publish.

2023-03-14 13:44:33 ,

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