Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo in 'critical condition'

Protesters in Hong Kong held portraits of political prisoner Liu Xiaobo who is being treated at a Chinese hospital Vincent Yu Associated Press Protesters in Hong Kong held portraits of political prisoner Liu Xiaobo who is being treated at a Chinese hospital
Sammy Stanley | 11 July, 2017, 00:46

In 2010, while in prison, Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China" - prompting an infuriated Beijing to place his wife under house arrest and freeze diplomatic ties with Norway, where the prize victor is chosen.

The news comes a day after doctors from the United States and Germany who visited Liu over the weekend said medical officials could safely move him overseas for treatment - but that would have to happen soon.

The Centre also said that six of Liu Xiaobo's family members who are present at the hospital are also being prevented from speaking with other family members.

China has come under worldwide pressure to let its most prominent dissident leave the country for treatment, but Chinese doctors said over the weekend that Liu was too sick to travel.

But he told reporters in Berlin, "I can assure you that this tragic case of Liu Xiaobo is a great concern of the chancellor, and that she would like a signal of humanity for Liu Xiaobo and his family".

Beijing's handling of Liu has been criticized by the German diplomatic mission in China from a different angle as well.

The political activist was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for "inciting subversion of state power" after he helped write "Charter 08", which called for an overhaul of the Chinese political system. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a year later while in prison.

A German doctor visited Liu at a hospital on Saturday.

Chinese leaders face two unpalatable choices, analysts say. At the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo in 2010, he was represented by an empty chair.

Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International's East Asia director, said Sunday that the doctors' recommendations showed that China was lying when it said that Liu was too sick to travel.

Liu's plight has already drawn public protests in the southern Chinese city of Hong Kong.

Hu said the Chinese government avoided bringing Liu to Beijing as it is preparing for a major party congress there in the autumn.

Human rights lawyer Albert Ho called it a "marathon sit-in" aimed at sending a strong message to Beijing. When asked if filming was not allowed because of Liu Xiaobo, they said: "Who's that?"

Mo said China has not let a political prisoner leave on medical grounds for more than a decade, when Tiananmen Square protest leader Wang Youcai left in 2004.

"Liu Xiaobo should be a free man".

"The economy is strong, the military is rising - does China still care about worldwide political opinion?" said Zhang Lifan, a liberal political commentator in Beijing. It issued an update Monday that appeared to highlight his deteriorating condition.

The First Hospital of China Medical University, where Liu has been receiving treatment for terminal liver cancer, revealed on its website Monday that his illness has worsened.

"The national experts group's view is that the patient is in critical condition", the statement said. "That is what they continue to do now and it is unacceptable", he added.

If China were to release him, Jared Genser, a lawyer representing Liu internationally, said he was ready to evacuate him. "From learning of the approval for the Lius to travel, we could have the medevac there in 48 hours".

The German embassy in Beijing said in a statement the recordings were made "against the expressed wishes of the German side, which were communicated in writing prior to the visit".

"It seems that security organs are steering the process, not medical experts", the embassy said.

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