A delegate of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislative body, has proposed granting protections to whistleblowers acting in good faith in order to preserve the public’s right to information, according to a report Wednesday from financial outlet Caixin.
Zhou Hongyu — chairman of the Hubei chapter of the China Association for Promoting Democracy, one of the eight legally recognized non-communist political parties in the country — proposed a revision to the country’s Emergency Response Law that would shield whistleblowers from reprisal, according to the media report.
The lawmaker, who is also a professor at Central China Normal University in Wuhan, said individuals who sound an alarm and harbor no ill intentions should be granted leniency even if the warning they disseminate turns out to be inaccurate. Zhou also suggested eliminating red tape and granting more authority to local governments to take decisive action during an emergency.
Zhou’s proposal comes two months after the Wuhan police apologized for punishing Dr. Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist who was reprimanded in early January for “spreading rumors” about a SARS-like coronavirus detected at his hospital. Li died after contracting the virus in February, and was later honored as one of over a dozen martyrs who lost their lives during China’s fight against COVID-19. (Image: People Visual)