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Celebrity doctor hailed for frank speech style

By ZHOU WENTING | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-02-28 09:00

A drawing depicting doctor Zhang Wenhong wearing a mask and a white medical suit while giving a warning to Shanghai residents has circulated widely on social platforms this week.

In the picture, hand-drawn by netizens, Zhang warns in Shanghai dialect: "If you don't stop seeing friends, you will see them again in the ICU."

It was an epitome of the funny language style and medical professionalism of Zhang, leader of the Shanghai team of experts in the treatment of novel coronavirus cases and director of the department of infectious diseases at Shanghai Huashan Hospital Affiliated with Fudan University.

Zhang, who has been dubbed "Dad Zhang for Shanghai", described himself as a medical worker who must speak out but will return to keeping a low profile after the outbreak ends.

"I spoke because of the fear among the public, owing to limited knowledge of the contagion. People, however strong, have become fragile in the face of such an epidemic, and this is the time when doctors and nurses must be strong," said Zhang during an exclusive interview with China Daily on Wednesday.

"However, once the curtain of this coronavirus incident falls, it may be hard to find me. I'll just hide myself in a corner, studying complicated patient cases and doing some reading, silently," he said.

Zhang's words first went viral on the internet after he said in late January that he had dispatched doctors and nurses who are members of the Communist Party of China to the front-line hospital to treat coronavirus cases.

"When becoming CPC members, we vowed that we would always prioritize people's interests and press forward in the face of difficulties," Zhang said. "This is the moment we live up to the pledge. All CPC members must rush to the front line. No bargaining."

Such a hard-core declaration of his attitude won wide applause among netizens.

"What one sticks to unswervingly is witnessed more in a critical situation. Nothing could win more recognition from the people than the down-to-earth behavior of the CPC members," said Yang Haiyan, a 32-year-old Shanghai resident.

Chased by media and netizens, he not only shared information about the virus and precautionary measures but also some of his life experiences.

"When you read more, you know more, and you'll be kind to people with less work experience and power. You'll think about pains and gains from their perspectives," Zhang said.

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