BEIJING: A Chinese military doctor who exposed the full extent of the SARS epidemic when it ripped through Beijing in 2003 has died at the age of 91, according to his friends and local media reports.

Jiang Yanyong accused the government of deliberately underreporting the spread of the respiratory disease in an open letter sent to state media in 2003. The disease killed nearly 800 people worldwide.

News of his death was not reported in Chinese state media, as is the norm with politically sensitive public figures.

Hu Jia, a human rights activist who said he was a long-time friend of Jiang’s, told Reuters he died in a Beijing military hospital.

Two other family friends of Jiang, Bao Pu and Bao Jian, posted on Twitter about his passing earlier this week.

“Dr. Jiang Yanyong, who exposed the concealment of the SARS epidemic and was known for daring to tell the truth, passed away,” Bao Pu wrote on Twitter.

Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2023

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