U.S. would welcome ailing Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo for medical treatment
Jul 13 2017
The renowned dissident and intellectual was hospitalised amid strong security measures around the beginning of June after he was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer following nearly nine years in prison.
"If a Nobel Peace Prize laureate dies in detention, it would batter China's image but only be a short-term political hit", said Mo Zhixu, a dissident writer who is friends with Liu.
"As the authorities are controlling all the information about Liu Xiaobo's health condition, it's hard to verify if the information released on the hospital's website is true or not", Amnesty International researcher Patrick Poon said.
The state-run Shenyang hospital has been steadily releasing more details on Liu's condition and treatment, revealing that his wife has been staying with him at the hospital and that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners have joined the medical team at the family's request.
Liu was convicted in 2009 of inciting subversion for his role in the "Charter 08" movement calling for political reform.
At the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo in 2010, he was represented by an empty chair.
Mr Liu, who has advanced liver cancer, is suffering from respiratory and renal failure as well as septic shock, the First Hospital of China Medical University said on its website.
U.S. and German cancer experts visited Liu last weekend and determined that he was strong enough to be medically evacuated, but the hospital has issued pessimistic medical updates since then.
Liu's plight has already drawn public protests in the southern Chinese city of Hong Kong.
"It's also legitimate to question if the authorities are releasing the information about his worsening health as an attempt to delay and justify not allowing Liu Xiaobo to leave the country", Poon added. The activists said they would not leave until Liu is allowed to leave the country. "This is a political charade", the Global Times reported in an editorial on Tuesday.
Other prominent pro-democracy campaigners who left China on medical grounds, including Tiananmen student leader Wang Dan and veteran activist Wei Jingsheng, did so when China was still seeking membership in the World Trade Organization and made human rights concessions.
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen said on Twitter that the self-ruled island that China claims as its own, was closely following reports that Liu was in critical condition.
The German Embassy in Beijing complained on Monday that authorities recorded the meeting between the doctors and Liu without the consent of the German side and later leaked some carefully selected parts of it to the Chinese media.
But a family friend, Hu Jia, told dpa that they were holding on to the hope that he can be transferred overseas for treatment - a desire that has also been expressed by various Western governments and organizations.
"It seems that security organs are steering the process, not medical experts", the embassy said.