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We want free speech

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wǒmen yào yánlùn zìyóu 我们要言论自由

Wake up, China!
#WeWantFreeSpeech (Source: CDT)

Online rallying cry that followed the death of Dr. Li Wenliang, who was reprimanded for "spreading rumors" about a mysterious illness that would later be named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and become a pandemic.

In late 2019, Dr. Li warned of a "SARS-like" illness originating in a Wuhan wet market, and was officially admonished by authorities. Li contracted the novel coronavirus from a patient, and news of his hospitalization was censored. On February 7, 2020, Li died from COVID-19, and censors worked hard to "control the temperature" of online news and discussion. That same day, Weibo users started posting with the hashtag #wewantfreespeech (#我们要言论自由#), invoking the right to freedom of speech guaranteed in Article 35 of China's constitution and calling for an end to censorship and information controls. The topic page created by this hashtag was soon removed from Weibo, prompting netizens to continue the conversation under the new tag #WeDemandFreeSpeech (#我们要求言论自由#). That, too, disappeared, but CDT Chinese has created an archive of related posts.

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