‘China’s Dr Fauci’ contradicts Beijing on COVID-19 strategy, gets investigated

For our free coronavirus pandemic coverage, learn more here.

Taipei: A leading infectious diseases expert known as “China’s Dr Fauci” is under investigation by a university after drawing ire in recent weeks for saying the country might have to learn to live with COVID.

Zhang Wenhong is an infectious diseases expert from Shanghai who has more than 3.5 million followers on social media and became a household name during the pandemic because of his regular media appearances.

‘China’s Dr Fauci’: Dr Zhang Wenhong, an infectious diseases expert from Shanghai.Credit:Xinhua

He has drawn comparison with Anthony Fauci, the face of the US’s COVID response.

Last month, he wrote on Sina Weibo, a Chinese social network, that “the world needs to learn how to coexist with this virus”, contradicting China’s policy of trying to stamp it out.

In what was seen as an official rebuke, the Communist Party’s official People’s Daily published a column by a former health minister that argued it was important to double down on controlling the virus, and that Western nations had “blindly lifted or relaxed” measures at the expense of people’s health. Following that, Dr Zhang was criticised on social media for “pandering to foreigners” and shunning China’s way of dealing with the pandemic for a Western one.

Over the weekend, Dr Zhang, 52, faced new online accusations, this time that he had plagiarised part of his doctoral thesis.

Shanghai’s Fudan University on Sunday said it was starting an investigation into the matter. In a statement, the institution said it was aware of the online concern and was looking into the degree it awarded Dr Zhang in 2000.

Some commentators online suggested Dr Zhang had become a victim of “nationalism”.

China has a “zero tolerance” strategy of dealing with COVID that involves quarantining every case, largely closing off its borders, and carrying out mass testing and enacting sweeping, costly lockdowns when a few new cases are found. While this strategy has kept China largely virus-free, the Delta variant has proved more challenging to contain.

Telegraph, London

Get a note direct from our foreign correspondents on what’s making headlines around the world. Sign up for the weekly What in the World newsletter here.

Most Viewed in World

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article