Tuesday, 31 March, 2020

European Union lawmakers urge China to let Nobel dissident seek medical help

China lets foreign doctors treat Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo Alex Wong Getty Staff Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo
Christy Curtis | 07 July, 2017, 01:22

The Chinese government has invited foreign medical experts, including from the U.S. and Germany, to help treat Liu, according to a statement posted yesterday (link in Chinese) by the justice bureau in Shenyang.

The hospital statement also included the names of some of the experts, including Dr. Mao Yilei, a reputed expert on liver cancer at the prestigious Peking Union Medical College Hospital, who conducted another round of group consultations on the day when the statement was released, which was most likely Thursday.

China's acceptance of foreign medical expertise on Wednesday was seen by sources speaking with Reuters as possibly the government's first step toward allowing Liu to travel overseas to receive treatment, something his family and supporters have demanded.

The man resembling Liu is shown to be undergoing various medical tests, and in one scene is visited by Liu's wife Liu Xia.

"We are anxious about whether we should start planning for what to do after he leaves", family friend Wu Yangwei, better known by his penname Ye Du., told The Associated Press. The message claimed that doctors stopped treating Liu with anti-cancer drugs, as well as traditional Chinese medicine.

Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 for "subversion" after drafting Charter '08, a manifesto calling for democratic reforms in China.

Friends of Liu have circulated a photo showing his wife feeding him as he sits next to a hospital bed.

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"We feel this is deeply tragic and realise that Liu Xiaobo has few days left and fear he is near death", says the letter signed by 44 scholars, writers and activists. The news comes just before Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the G20 summit in Hamburg on Friday.

Asked about Liu's health and whether foreign doctors had arrived, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters that other nations should "refrain from interfering in China's judicial sovereignty under the pretext of individual cases".

Human Rights Watch's China director, Sophie Richardson, voiced concern about what will happen to Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest since 2010, after her husband dies.

Activist and dissident Hu Jia on Thursday accused China's Communist Party of denying Liu his freedom, which he said would be the best possible treatment. "The Chinese government wants him to die in China".

Diplomatic sources in Beijing say China has been nervous the issue over the Nobel Peace Prize victor could overshadow Xi's appearance.

"It is not too late for the authorities to end this cruel farce", it said in a statement, adding that the invitation to foreign experts appeared to be "in part an attempt to limit global criticism".

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