Li Wenliang (1985 – 2020)
by Dr. Weslie Ubeca
Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist, worked in Wuhan;
and when he saw the new coronavirus coming on,
attempted to alert the public to the dread disease;
but he was quickly silenced by the Wuhan thought police.
Li Wenliang, December 30, on WeChat, confirmed
that seven cases from the Huanan Seafood Market were
coronavirus carriers. But the police demurred…
for making comments on the Internet that were absurd.
Li Wenliang, on January 12, was taken to
the quarantine located in the Wuhan ICU.
An ECMO had been used to rescue him. In short, they tried.
But it was all in vain. On February 6, he died.
That’s what the world knows about the hero Li Wenliang. Can I offer something less obvious but perhaps even more thought-provoking?
When I think deeper upon what Dr. Li did in contrast to what other people did, it humbles me even more.
Instead of getting praised for doing his job well and identifying a SARs-like virus, and having the good conscience to alert his friends, colleagues, and family; he was silenced by the Chinese authorities for “fear-mongering”.
Despite being officially professionally disrespected, he continued treating those same patient and doing what he could while the government that silenced him sat on their hands. Incompetency? Pride? Or for what purpose?
As of 13 Feb 2019, the number of infected across China rose to 59,805. (1) That is just the reported number. Some estimate numbers even larger than that. 25 nations have reported cases and the World Health Organization has warned the virus poses a “grave threat” to the world. China had also stubbornly refused foreign expert help three times before conceding. (2) This has stoked speculation (3) that this virus might have been genetically modified since 20 miles from the live market is the Wuhan P4 lab that researches such viruses, and if so, intentions are unclear. (4)
Dr. Li paid for it with his life, helping those who needed help at ground zero, while others complained the CCP are living the high life separated by the masses in ivory towers.
“You have promised us prosperity by 2020… You are living the high life while we are dying!” said an outraged woman who finally didn’t bother to hide her face at the authoritarian CCP. (5)
There are videos of people being forcibly dragged out of their homes, images of local authorities sealing doors to even an entire building when they believe at least one person inside was infected.
The most chilling for me was a 17-year-old boy with cerebral palsy in Hubei province who died from a lack of care after his caregivers were quarantined. I have volunteered in a school for cerebral palsy children before, I know how helpless some of them can be. I can imagine that boy starving to death, unable to communicate or move properly.
Lawrence Gostin, a global health law professor at Georgetown University, said China “has implemented the most extensive cordon sanitaire [or quarantine] in the history of humankind … They’ve restricted movements, caused fear and panic. They’ve violated human rights.” (6)
You can’t find much on google, because most of his personal life has been scrubbed from the China social media sites.
According to Nectar Gan, a reporter for CNN International, the hashtag “I want freedom of speech” had 1.8 million views before the entire phrase was censored from Chinese social media platforms. BBC also reported that “hundreds of thousands” of comments related to Li’s death have been completely wiped, complying with government demands to censor “politically sensitive content.”(7)
A Christian doctor who died with his poor patients while he could have easily left before the Wuhan shutdown? I’ve seen such behavior before 300 years ago. But, instead of the Wuhan virus, it was the Black Plague.
This time, an entire Christian village, motivated by two clergymen, had the otherworldly conviction for self-sacrifice for the betterment of strangers who they owned nothing outside their village.
Dr Linsey Fitzharris writes:
“The pestilence spread rapidly throughout the village. Panic broke out as villagers began making preparations to flee Eyam for contagion-free surroundings. It was then that two local clergymen, William Mompesson and Thomas Stanley, decided to intervene in order to stop the plague from spreading to neighboring villages. In a joint sermon, the two men pleaded with their fellow townspeople to recognize that it was their Christian duty to remain in Eyam until the scourge had played itself out, and to prevent the disease taking hold in other villages. Moved by the clergymen’s words, the villagers decided to make the ultimate sacrifice: they sealed themselves off from the rest of the world… In order to do this, they created a stone boundary around Eyam. No one was allowed in, and no one was allowed out.” (8)
They built a tomb for themselves so that no one else had to die.
“… but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil 2:20-21)
I can imagine them repeating the below verse as they see their neighbor’s corpses being carted out of their homes as they wondered when their turn will come.
This brand of self-sacrifice and courage in history repeats today.
The ChristianPost.com reports:
“Today, Christian humanitarian organizations are partnering with pastors on the ground to distribute emergency relief in the provinces surrounding Wuhan. Amid the unrest, numerous reports have emerged of Christians in Wuhan distributing masks, sharing the Gospel, and offering shelter to those fleeing from Hubei province who face housing discrimination.” (9)
They are not offering help from afar. They are in close contact and are even offering shelter to those who cannot find shelter. They are touching the untouchable. They are risking infection to do so. Just like Dr. Li. The villager of Eyam, being infected, voluntarily closed themselves off to isolation and death. The Christians in Wuhan, not infected yet, are voluntarily risking exposing themselves to people who are shunned to give help and love. It reminds me on a smaller scale of what their Savior did. Jesus in his perfection came from heaven into a grimy, fallen world to save spiritually bankrupt men. The very men He came to save tried to kill him on a cross.
Natural disasters, irresponsible human behaviors and the madness of men make me wonder if heaven existed. People like Dr. Li, the villagers of Eyam and those risking their own health to help the infected remind me that there is one.
Continuing from the Christianpost.com article:
Earlier during the week, a Chinese pastor living Wuhan, identified only as “A Wuhan Pastor,” wrote to the international faith community, urging them to pray and revealing that fellow pastors from around the world had been reaching out.
“It is readily apparent that we are facing a test of our faith,” the pastor wrote. “The situation is so critical, yet [we are] trusting in the Lord’s promises, that His thoughts toward us are of peace, and not evil (Jeremiah. 29:11), and that He allows for a time of testing, not to destroy us, but to establish us.”
He continued, “Therefore, Christians are not only to suffer with the people of this city, but we have a responsibility to pray for those in this city who are fearful, and to bring to them the peace of Christ. … [When] disaster strikes us, it is but a form of God’s love. Spoken for today, Wuhan’s pestilence cannot separate us from the love of Christ; this love is in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (10)
2 thoughts on “A Poem on Dr. Li Wen Liang, the doctor that exposed the Corona Virus, and similarities to heroes during the Black Plague.”
I have been so blessed by this post ; may we be counted as faithful in trials and steadfast in faith. And may we lift, shield and stand with those being afflicted as these fellow brethren in China. What a beautiful depiction of our saviour and of whom we are in Him.
Hi Sandra N, just like in Biblical times, it always seems to be in the most persecuted places that the love of God shines the brightest; and in disasters that the strong in spirit and heart emerge.