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SARS whistleblower in trouble

Last updated on: July 07, 2004 08:20 IST
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Jiang Yanyong, a military surgeon and China's celebrated SARS whistleblower, is likely to face formal charges for criticising the government over the violent suppression of democracy protests in Tiananmen Square 15 years ago, reports The Times, London.

Jiang, 72, 'revealed earlier this year that he had treated student demonstrators who had been shot by soldiers at night during the protests in Beijing in 1989.  He has been subjected to fierce interrogations since his arrest last month and is now being subjected to political re-education,'  The Times said.

Jiang's family members say that apart from a single handwritten note,  they have not heard from the doctor in more than a month. "We are very concerned and have no idea when or if he will come back,"  a family member told The Times.

 Jiang shot to fame in March 2003 when he contradicted official statements on the severe acute respiratory syndrome which sought to play down the crisis.  'This eventually  led to the sacking of Beijing's mayor and the Health Minister, creating a political crisis immediately after President Hu Jintao's appointment as leader,' said the article.  

According to the article, the Communist Party leadership, forced to acknowledge its culpability over the spread of the SARS virus, tried to allay fears about Jiang's safety by taking the rare step of officially praising him, and putting his face on the cover of magazine covers and billboards.

Now the Government appears to have turned on him. 

 "The authorities are gradually building up to their final retaliation against him, possibly in the form of connecting him with overseas hostile organisations and charging him with subversion," the article quoted Jiang Rui, his daughter who lives in California, as saying. 

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