At this time in history, being a whistleblower is certainly a controversial subject. However, this particular individual that I have learned about is someone who I wish I had known and I imagine you do too! In particular, this whistleblower was an ophthalmologist. In fact, he was not just any ophthalmologist but a Christian ophthalmologist who lived in Wuhan, China and trusted God with his future.
Dr. Li Wenliang was 34 years old and worked in Wuhan, China. He apparently was very smart and very brave. On December 30th, 2019, he reported on 7 patients all from a local seafood market who had been diagnosed with a SARS-like illness and were quarantined in the hospital. He had noted that on December 3rd, he saw a test sample that showed the presence of a coronavirus similar to the SARS virus which caused 800 deaths in a 2002-2003 outbreak. He sent a message on Weibo (a Chinese version of Twitter) to warn his medical school alumni about wearing protective clothing. Apparently this alone caused a visit from the Wuhan police who accused him of ?rumour-mongering? and who tried to silence him. He was persecuted because of his actions and for telling the truth. Most of us have heard about this since it has hit our national news.
Unfortunately, Dr. Li developed a cough on January 10th and fever the very next day. He was put in the hospital on January 12th with trouble breathing and shared a selfie of himself. Dr. Li was strong in his Christian faith as he reflected in his hospital bed about his circumstance. His 8 month pregnant wife had also become infected with the same coronavirus and was caring for their only son. Dr. Wenliang penned a poem as he got sicker and sicker that has been circulating. It reflects on his worries for his parents, his wife and family and his rent but ends with his trust in God that he will enter the heavenly gates with a crown of righteousness after fighting the good fight.
It is still uncertain what will come of Li?s legacy in China although there are signs that his boldness is being lauded and behind calls for more freedom of speech. We can also pray that his Christian faith will shine brightly for millions to see! We pray that they will reflect on his witness and that his sharing of 2nd Timothy 4 will cause more around the world to turn towards God who know is our only real hope in whom we can rest secure in a world of many trials and tribulations and uncertainties.
“I have fought the good fight
I have finished the race.
I have kept the faith.
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness.”
Despite that I never knew Dr. Wenliang, I?m quite proud of him for stepping out in faith and being bold. I?m thankful that he shared his poem with his heartfelt thoughts prior to his death. I?m extra proud to know that he was a Christian ophthalmologist. I?d love to give him an honorary membership to the COS if he were still alive. May all Christian ophthalmologists be as bold in their faith and as secure in fighting the good fight as Dr. Li Wenliang!!