TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Chinese doctor who raised the alarm about Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 is still under house arrest, Radio Taiwan International (RTI) reported on Monday (Feb. 10).
Family and friends of retired Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) doctor Jiang Yanyong (蔣彥永) confirmed the news. Jiang, now 88 years old, worked as the chief surgeon of the 301 Hospital in Beijing when SARS broke out in 2002.
Jiang revealed to Western media that the number of SARS cases in China were drastically underreported by the Chinese government. In 2004, Jiang received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for revelation and for the lives he saved with his courageous deed.
Also in 2004, Jiang wrote to Chinese authorities calling for the government to change the official designation of the Tiananmen Square Massacre from an "insurgency" to a "patriotic student movement," a proposal that was not adopted by then-Chinese President Hu Jintao, according to UDN.
Jiang's wife, Hua Zhongwei, said that he is currently not in good health or clear of mind. She added that he spends most of his time at home recuperating, RTI reported.
The media is paying attention to Jiang once again because of the Chinese doctor Li Wen-liang (李文亮), who tried to alert the country to the dangerous new strain of coronavirus in late December last year. Unlike Jiang, Li did not receive praise and recognition. Instead, he was arrested and forced to recant his statement by Chinese authorities.
Li died of infection from the Wuhan coronavirus on Feb. 7. His death sparked an outcry from the Chinese public, who took to social media to vent their criticism and frustration towards the authorities' treatment of Li and their suppression of freedom of speech.