Whistleblower doctor punished 'inappropriately': Chinese probe

Police in China's virus epicentre Wuhan acted "inappropriately" by punishing a doctor who blew the whistle on the outbreak that has now killed more than 9,000 worldwide, a Chinese government investigation found on Thursday (Mar 19).
Li Wenliang, one of a group of doctors in Wuhan who shared posts on social media warning of a SARS-like virus spreading in the city in December, was reprimanded by police for sharing the information and made to sign a statement agreeing not to commit any more "law-breaking actions".
Li's death from the virus in February prompted a national outpouring of grief as well as anger at the government's handling of the crisis, and bold demands for freedom of speech.
A central government investigation initiated after Li's death found that Wuhan police "acted inappropriately by issuing a disciplinary letter" and took "irregular law enforcement procedures", state broadcaster CCTV reported on Thursday.
The investigators also found that Li's colleagues had repeatedly attempted to resuscitate the 34-year-old before he was declared dead because he was "very young", CCTV said.
State media said Li's colleagues told investigators, "as long as there was a bit of hope we were unwilling to give up, at the time there were no other factors."
The central government investigators "suggest" that Wuhan authorities "supervise and rectify the matter" and urged local police to revoke the disciplinary statement issued to Li, according to CCTV.
Wuhan police later issued a statement saying that giving Li a disciplinary statement had been "wrong" and they "apologise to his family for the mistake".
It is rare for Chinese authorities to admit such wrongdoing, but Beijing has sought to direct criticism over the mishandling of the virus outbreak onto provincial officials, with several of the region's top Communist Party and health officials sacked.

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