China coronavirus cover-up: Wuhan whistleblower disappears in mysterious circumstances

Dr Ai Fen said she faced “unprecedented, extremely harsh reprimanded” by bosses at Wuhan Central Hospital after she shared a picture of a patient report labelled “SARS coronavirus”. Dr Ai gave an interview to a Chinese magazine criticising the hospital for dismissing the early coronavirus warnings but has not been seen since, according to 60 Minutes Australia.

The world needs different kinds of voices

Ai Fen

Her rumoured disappearance comes amid growing criticism of the Chinese government which faces claims of lying and covering up key information during its coronavirus response.

Beijing is accused of trying to cover up the outbreak by punishing medics who discovered it, denying it could spread person-to-person and delaying a lockdown of affected regions.

Officials are also alleged to have censored spread disinformation overseas including claims that US troops could have been the initial carriers.

In the interview, Dr Ai said she regretted not speaking out more after four fellow medics contracted coronavirus and died while fighting the outbreak.

She said: “If I had known what would have happened today, I wouldn’t have cared about the reprimand. I would have told whoever and wherever I want.”

The interview was posted on Tuesday but quickly retracted from social media by its publisher.

Dr Ai received a patient’s report labelled “SARS coronavirus” on December 30.

She said she broke out into a cold sweat after reading the lab results several times.

The SARS epidemic 17 years ago infected more than 8,000 people worldwide and killed over 800 people.

The doctor circled the word “SARS” and sent a picture of the report to one of her former classmates and a group chat within her department.

Dr Ai said she alerted hospital authorities about the case.

She told People Magazine: “Later that evening, the stuff was shared all over the place with screenshots of the report bearing my red circle.”

Two days later, she was called in by the head of the hospital’s disciplinary inspection committee.

Dr Ai said she faced “unprecedented, extremely harsh reprimanded” and was accused of “spreading rumours as a professional”.

Ophthalmologist Li Wenliang was among eight people who shared Dr Ai’s picture before being reprimanded by police and accused of spreading fake news for warning the public of “SARS at a Wuhan seafood market” on social media.

The 34-year-old doctor contracted COVID-19 and died last Friday.

Three other doctors who worked alongside Dr Li have also died from the disease.

Before her disappearance, Dr Ai denied being a whistle-blower.

She told People Magazine: “I was the one handing out the whistles.

“This incident has shown that everyone needs to have their own thoughts because someone has to step up to speak the truth.

“The world needs different kinds of voices.”

The original article has now been removed from the magazine’s website.

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