Beijing passes law to protect medical whistleblowers

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Beijing (AFP)

Beijing city government will protect ‘non-malicious’ medical whistleblowers under a new law, passed months after a Chinese doctor was punished for sounding the alarm at the very start of the Covid pandemic. 19.

Chinese leaders have suffered a rare wave of public outrage after the death of ophthalmologist Li Wenliang from the disease in Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus first appeared late last year.

He had tried to warn authorities of the new infection, but was instead reprimanded for “spreading rumors”.

Other medical whistleblowers in Wuhan later told Chinese media that they were punished by government officials for discussing the outbreak without permission from their superiors.

Beijing’s new law, which came into force on Friday, says anyone whose complaints are later verified would be rewarded and not face any penalties.

But the regulations do not cover anyone “who willfully fabricates or disseminates false information” about the development of public health emergencies, according to a government notice released on Saturday.

The new legislation is similar to an emergency public health law passed by the Shenzhen municipal government in August, which also pledges to protect “non-malicious” whistleblowers from legal consequences – the first of its kind. in China.

Since the first outbreak in January, Chinese authorities have launched a crackdown on the Covid-19 rumor, investigating and detaining hundreds of people across the country.

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