Although ignored, despised, persecuted and betrayed (above all by the current Vatican), Christians continue to be light where darkness is darker. As in recent days in China, where the deadly coronavirus epidemic was added to Communist totalitarianism.
This is the case of the Chinese doctor Li Wen Liang who first raised the alarm for the coronavirus and was silenced by the regime's police. After the police accusations, once the epidemic became evident to everyone, he was cleared, but he died himself, on February 6, for having suffered the infection by treating the sick.
His tragic story provoked a wave of popular emotion that touched millions of people. And despite the censorship, millions of Chinese people in recent days have also expressed their outrage over his fate. This Christian doctor has become a national hero.
Li, 34, worked as an ophthalmologist in a hospital in Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus epidemic broke out. First, last December, he realized something anomalous by treating serious pneumonia patients (from unknown causes) who had conjunctivitis. Considering the symptoms and the previous Sars epidemic, he believed it could be a new coronavirus and put forward this hypothesis in a chat group, obviously controlled by the police.
Instead of alerting themselves to verify that alarm (they were still in time to stop the infection), the authorities accused the doctor of spreading false news that disturbed public order.
It took a few weeks for the regime to recognize the existence of the epidemic, clearing him of the charges.
The doctor returned to work at his hospital and went back to treating the sick while the infection flared up so that he himself was hit and died on February 6th. Even the news of his death was initially censored (with a back and forth of confirmations and denials).
On social media, before being canceled by the police, the hashtag "Dr. Li Wenliang ”had 670 million views and“ Li Wenliang died ”another 230 million. In all 900 million.
Although censored on the same social networks, thousands of posts appeared that commented on the Li affair under a hashtag that (more or less) means "We want freedom of speech" and were critical of the regime for its management of the serious crisis. Thus other complaints were triggered, but indignation overflows equally in other ways.
Li's story impressed and outraged the public so much that the Beijing government, seeking to appease the anger, announced an investigation into his case to verify the arbitrariness of the police charges against him.
Some academics - writes the missionary agency Asianews - have launched an appeal: "Let us not let Li Wen Liang die in vain". It is an open letter that circulates on the web and is shared by millions of people. This appeal calls for "respect for the Constitution, which (in theory) guarantees freedom of speech".
Therefore, the abolition of the laws that prevent this freedom is requested and it is proposed that the "Freedom of Speech Day" be established on February 6 - the date of Li's death. Finally, the government is asked to publicly apologize "for not having listened, indeed for stifling the voice of Dr. Li, defined as" a martyr "of the truth".
Asianews quotes - among the signatories - prof. Tang Yiming, head of the Faculty of Chinese Classics at Wuhan Normal University: "If the words of dr. They had not been treated as rumors, if every citizen were guaranteed the right to tell the truth, we would not be in this disaster, we would not have a national catastrophe with international repercussions ".
Another of the signatories, Zhang Qianfan, a professor of law at Beijing University, said that Li Wenliang's death "should not frighten us, but encourage us to speak clearly ... If more and more people remain silent out of fear, death will come even sooner . We should all say no to the regime's repression of free speech. "
What was struck and moved is also the heroism and self-denial of the 34-year-old young doctor, married, with a five-year-old son and his pregnant wife at the eighth month and also infected with it.
Because, despite the obtuseness of the regime, he returned to the hospital where he wanted to take care of the sick to stem the epidemic, well aware that this would have exposed him to a safe infection. As indeed it happened. "Doctor Li Wen" writes a Catholic website "has chosen to donate his life to try to save others."
At the origin of this heroic choice is his Christian faith which shines through in a script he left behind, a sort of spiritual testament. It reads:
“I don't want to be a hero. I still have my parents, my children, my pregnant wife who is about to give birth and many of my patients in the ward (...). When this battle is over, I will look at the sky, with tears that will flow like rain. "
He speaks of the sick, "many innocent people" who "even if they are dying, always look me in the eye, with their life expectancy. Who would have understood that I was going to die? "
"My soul is in heaven," writes Li, while "my own body lies on the white bed." Then his poignant questions: “Where are my parents? What about my dear wife? "
He talks about his new home in Wuhan, “for which I still have to pay my mortgage every month. How can I give up? How sad is it for my parents to lose their child? How can my sweet wife without her husband deal with the vicissitudes of his future? (...) Goodbye, dear ones. Goodbye, Wuhan, my hometown. I hope that after the disaster, you will remember that someone tried to let you know the truth as soon as possible. I hope that after the disaster, you will learn what it means to be righteous. Never better people should suffer from endless fear and deep and desperate sadness. "
Doctor Li Wen Liang concludes his touching writing with a quote from Saint Paul: “I fought the good fight, I finished my race, I kept the faith. Now the crown of justice of the Lord is in store for me "(2 Tim 4: 7-8).
China will remain marked by this heroic Christian witness. It took place in the same days when Pope Bergoglio's Vatican held a diplomatic meeting with high figures of the Chinese regime: the Vatican in aid of the Communist government to which it decided to submit the Chinese Church.