by Dennis M. Myers, 02/12/2020
Li Wenliang was the Wuhan doctor who identified and warned about the existence of a new coronavirus (now called Covid-19) similar to SARS, which killed almost 800 people in 2002-2003.
This whistleblower was given an official reprimand for spreading “illegal and false” information. It was false, because the government said it was false. It was illegal, because only the government is the source of truth, in China.
This is one of the many reasons why American protections for whistleblowers are vital to our nation. We cannot allow the government to dictate truth, we cannot allow fear of persecution to prevent critical information from being made public.
If instead of investigating Li, instead of officially reprimanding the man, imagine if the government of China had jumped in with both feet to work at preventing the spread of this disease. Imagine how many fewer lives might have been lost.
When a whistleblower alerts the authorities about a possible wrongdoing, that report must be investigated. If there are criminal actions, that investigation will reveal them. If not, then it's nothing but a test run. Either way, there is absolutely no reason for the whistleblower to be persecuted in any way. Sure, someone who repeatedly makes false accusations might end up being the boy who cried wolf. But remember that story clearly, eventually there was actually a wolf. We should learn both lessons from this story.
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