China dismisses outcry over ailing dissident

Beijing, July 5 (IANS) China on Wednesday said that individual cases should not be exploited to interfere in its internal matters, referring to global pressure over the release of Nobel Peace Prize-winning Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo who has terminal liver cancer.

Chinese authorities announced they were going to invite doctors from Germany and the US to treat Liu, but have ruled out allowing him to travel out of the country, Efe news reported.

At a press conference, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said the government “hopes that other countries will respect China’s sovereignty… a country under the rule of law, where everyone is equal in front of the law”.

He added that China safeguards “the rights and interests of people serving sentences in accordance with the law”.

Over the past few days, several international institutions and governments, including the European Union, the US and Amnesty International, have urged China to free Liu and allow him to undergo treatment in a country of his choice.

Liu, 61, is one of the most prominent dissidents in China and was jailed for 11 years in 2009 on subversion charges for calling for greater democracy. He was a key leader in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

His wife Liu Xia has been under house arrest since then but not been charged. The dissident was diagnosed with cancer in May and was released on medical parole to be treated by tumour experts in Shenyang’s hospital.

According to close friends of the family, the Nobel laureate and his wife wish to seek treatment overseas, if possible in Germany.

The Nobel committee in Oslo described Liu Xiaobo as “the foremost symbol” of the human rights struggle in China.

He was never allowed to collect his prize and was represented by an empty chair at the ceremony. The Chinese government was infuriated by the award and cut ties with Norway for several years.

–IANS

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