(Minghui.org) The Chinese Communist Party (CCP)'s cover-up of coronavirus outbreak has turned an epidemic into a pandemic. Facing the condemnation from the international community for its mishandling of the outbreak, the CCP has been using the scapegoat strategy to shirk its responsibilities. Its handling of Dr. Li Wenliang's case is one such example.

Dr. Li, who was reprimanded for sounding the alarm on the outbreak and later died of the virus, was now said to have never disrupted the public order, and his family was given an apology. Two local police officers were disciplined for having reprimanded Li.

Punished for Raising Awareness and Died of the Disease

On January 1, 2020, China's state-owned Xinhua News Agency reported that legal action had been taken against 8 people for “spreading rumors” related to “Wuhan pneumonia.” It also warned that anyone who followed suit would face harsh consequences.

Xinhua did not explain that these 8 people were all doctors in Wuhan who shared information based on two confirmed coronavirus cases in Wuhan Central Hospital.

Ai Fen, one of doctors and director of the Emergency Department Wuhan Central Hospital, recently recalled how the initial outbreak was ignored by officials in the hospital, Wuhan City, and Hubei Province. Her colleague Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist in the same hospital, circulated her warning about the outbreak among a group of other physicians on December 30, 2019.

At 1:30 a.m. on December 31, Li was called by hospital officials to explain himself to the Wuhan Health Commission. At work that day, he was forced to write a self-criticism statement.

With no other choice but follow orders from the CCP officials, Li kept quiet and continued working without protection. He developed a fever on January 11 and soon experienced lung problems. By January 16, his hospital had reported 26 infection cases of healthcare workers, himself included. “We have not observed human-to-human transmission,” a hospital official declared that day. “This disease is preventable and treatable.”

Li died on February 7 at the age of 34. Three more doctors in the same hospital died of the virus in the next few weeks. They were: head of thyroid and breast surgery Jiang Xueqing, ophthalmologist Mei Zhongming, and eye disease specialist Zhu Heping.

Two Police Officers

Li's death sparked public anger over the CCP's cover-up of the coronavirus outbreak, both inside and outside of China. The CCP officials then promised to investigate his death.

In a report released in mid-March, officials said Li had not disrupted the public order and that Wuhan Public Security Bureau apologized to his family.

The report maintained that Li’s post on the social media was “not consistent with the actual situation at the time.” Not only that, “the report also denounced the ‘anti-establishment’ labels of ‘hero’ and ‘whistleblower’, which some people had given to Li,” according to The Guardian, which published an article on March 20, 2020, with the title of “Chinese inquiry exonerates coronavirus whistleblower doctor.”

According to a separate announcement from the Bureau, two local officers, deputy chief Yang Li and officer Hu Jiafang of Zhongnanlu Police Station, received a demerit and a warning, respectively.

Netizens questioned how the two low-level police officers could have had the influence to make the CCP mouthpiece Xinhua report on Li and other whistleblowers? It was apparent that the CCP officials simply used the two police officers as scapegoats, all the while ignoring the systematic cover-up and suppression of opinions that led to the pandemic.

“How can you let these police at the very bottom bear the burden?” said one viral post on the social media site of Weibo, “They were just carrying out orders.”

“Those two officers are not responsible for the defamation and disinformation on Xinhua,” another post wrote.