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deadly virus

December 30, 2019 Dr Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, alerted colleagues via WeChat to the sudden outbreak of a unique virus, soon to be identified as COVID-19 … coronavirus.

On that very same day following a secret trial, a Chinese court announced the government’s previously determined punishment for Pastor Wang Yi. (China does not have an independent judiciary, courts are extensions of the Communist Party.) Pastor Yi was sent to prison for nine years; his crime "inciting to subvert state power" (preaching the Gospel) and "illegal business operations” (leading a house church).

These two events are, in all likelihood, coincidental. But, what if they aren’t?

Before he became a pastor, even before becoming a Christian, Wang Yi was an internationally celebrated Chinese human rights lawyer. The gospel intensified Pastor Yi’s passion for justice. In his
declaration of faithful disobedience released soon after his 2018 arrest, Wang Yi warned China’s rulers of divine judgement:

“Persecution against the Lord’s church and against all Chinese people who believe in Jesus Christ is the most wicked and the most horrendous evil. This is not only a sin against Christians. It is also a sin against all, for the government is brutally and ruthlessly hindering them from coming to Jesus. There is no greater wickedness in the world than this.

“If this regime is one day overthrown by God, it will be for no other reason than God’s righteous punishment and revenge for this evil.”

January 3, 2020, Dr Li was summoned to Wuhan police headquarters and admonished for "making false comments on the Internet”. Dr Li returned to his work battling the coronavirus, telling co-workers he had been admonished for telling the truth. January 12 he contracted the virus. February 7, 2020 Dr Li died.

Dr Li’s death provoked grief and anger inside China, protests that quickly morphed into demands for freedom of speech.
The social media hashtag #wewantfreedomofspeech gained 2+ million views and 5,500+ posts within five hours, before being blocked by the Chinese censors. Angry citizens now blow whistles in public places to commemorate Dr Li’s service as a whistleblower and truth-teller.

Law Prof Qin Qianhong of Wuhan University, expressed concern that public anger over Dr Li's death could explode as did anger 30 years ago over the death of Hu Yaobang, resulting in the
Tiananmen Square protests.

An anonymous group of Tsinghua University alumni issued a public letter commemorating Dr Li and opposing the rule of China’s President Xi Jinping. It concludes, “Fellow citizens! For the life and death of hundreds of millions of Chinese, and for the survival of our nation and our country, let us utter our final roar!”

Before his arrest Pastor Wang Yi wrote, “I hope God uses me, by means of first losing my personal freedom, to tell those who have deprived me of my personal freedom that there is an authority higher than their authority, and that there is a freedom that they cannot restrain, a freedom that fills the church of the crucified and risen Jesus Christ.” ~

Dan Nygaard