The ethical experience and lessons of China’s and the world's response to COVID-19 will be debated for many years to come. But one feature of the Chinese authoritarian response that should not be overlooked is its practice of silencing and humiliating the whistle-blowers who told the truth about the epidemic. In this article, we document the humiliation of Dr Li Wenliang (1986–2020), the most prominent whistle-blower in the Chinese COVID-19 epidemic. Engaging with the thought of Israeli philosopher Avishai Margalit, who argues that humiliation constitutes an injury to a person’s self-respect, we discuss his contention that a decent society is one that abolishes conditions which constitute a justification for its dependents to consider themselves humiliated. We explore the ways that institutions humiliate whistle-blowers in Western countries as well as in China.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2020, Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd.
Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- Decent society
- Public health ethics
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article