Report: China Keeping Elderly SARS Whistleblower Under House Arrest

Police patrol a neighborhood on January 22, 2020 in Wuhan, China. The cause of the person's illness is as of yet unknown. A new infectious coronavirus known as "2019-nCoV" was discovered in Wuhan as the number of cases rose to over 400 in mainland China. Health officials stepped up efforts …
Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

China is keeping an 88-year-old retired military surgeon who exposed the severity of the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) under house arrest according to information the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights & Democracy (ICHRD).

Dr. Jiang Yanyong recently became the most searched name in China following the suspicious death last week of 34-year-old Dr. Li Wenliang. Li died allegedly after contracting the novel coronavirus ravaging the city of Wuhan, but not before police detained and humiliated him for sharing a warning that the viral disease might be contagious with his colleagues. The ICHRD reports that, on the day of Li’s death, several police officers were seen guarding Jiang’s residence in Beijing.

The findings of investigations carried out by the ICH and provided to the Epoch Times found that Jiang was put under house arrest last year after sending a letter to Chinese dictator Xi Jinping demanding reparations for the communist regime’s brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in 1989.

After trying to receive medical treatment for his deteriorating condition last April, Jiang was reportedly prohibited from leaving the residential complex by guards, inflicting memory loss on top of his neurological decline. His wife, Hua Zhongwei, confirmed that he is currently recovering from a recent bout of pneumonia. The report does not indicate that his pneumonia was triggered by the new coronavirus.

Hua also described the unjust circumstances of Jiang’s life since revealing Chinese malpractice surrounding the SARS outbreak, after Chinese authorities blocked him from visiting his daughter in California and even refused approval for him to visit Hong Kong.

“He is not allowed to be in contact with people outside. He is at home. He has no means of communication [with outside],” she told the Guardian. “His health is not good. He is not in a good mental state either. He is not very well.”

Hua refused to elaborate, indicating that doing so would mean facing the wrath of the Chinese communist state. A friend of Hua’s also told the British daily that they had not been able to see or contact him in a very long time.

After being celebrated as a national hero for exposing the 2003 cover-up and remaining a member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Jiang has mainly been targeted on political grounds over his criticisms of the Tiananmen Square massacre and other aspects of contemporary politics.

“Errors committed by our party should be resolved by the party,” he wrote in 2004, on the 15th anniversary of the tragedy. “The sooner this is done and the more thoroughly this is done, the better.”

In a 2013 interview with the state propaganda outlet Southern People Weekly, Jiang reaffirmed the importance of telling the truth.

“As a doctor, protecting patients’ health and lives is first and foremost … the most basic requirement for a doctor is to speak the truth,” he said at the time. “I have experienced numerous political movements for 50 years, I feel deeply that it is easy to lie, so I insist on never telling lies.”

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