Since then confidence has grown in China’s response to the pandemic, but people have continued to post to Li online, especially on certain anniversary days as they did on Thursday.
“Happy new year Dr Li, we will remember you forever,” wrote a user called Tdby.
Others posted candle emojis, brief messages of thanks and exclamations of how two years have gone by so quickly, in the comments section of one of Li’s posts on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter. Many wrote conversationally as if they were speaking to him beyond the grave.
Fang Kecheng from the Chinese University of Hong Kong said Li’s Weibo microblog has become a place online where people express their feelings they are not comfortable expressing elsewhere.
“Such places for anonymous expression are needed in any society, and this is especially true in today’s China,” said the communication researcher.
Mainland China has reported 101,683 confirmed cases as of Dec 28, with the death toll at 4,636.