China’s Nobel-winning dissident in ‘critical condition’

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Beijing, July 10 (IANS) Chinese Nobel Peace laureate and dissident Liu Xiaobo, who is suffering from terminal cancer, is in “critical condition”, a hospital in northern China, where he is admitted, announced on Monday.

Many of Liu’s health parameters have worsened in the past few hours, especially the lesions in his liver, due to the rapid progress of the liver cancer he is suffering from, according to a statement by the hospital in Shenyang city.

It said Liu’s abdominal swelling has also worsened and he is suffering from low blood pressure and kidney failure, Efe news reported.

The announcement came just one day after Western specialists said the Nobel laureate could travel safely for treatment overseas if he was permitted to leave China soon.

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The medical team treating Liu said that he is not suited for invasive procedures or radiation therapy and the hospital’s statement said that Liu’s family was informed of the team’s opinion, CNN reported.

The two Western doctors who visited Liu last week said he and his family had requested that the remainder of his care be provided in Germany or the US.

“While a degree of risk always exists in the movement of any patient, both physicians believe Liu can be safely transported with appropriate medical care,” said Dr Joseph M. Herman of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre and Dr Markus Büchler of the University of Heidelberg, in a joint statement on Sunday.

“However, the medical evacuation would have to take place as quickly as possible,” they said.

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Before the hospital issued its latest statement, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman on Monday repeatedly declined to say if Beijing would allow Liu to leave the country.

“We hope relevant countries will respect China’s judicial sovereignty and not use a individual case to interfere in China’s internal affairs,” said Geng Shuang at a regular press briefing.

Authorities said Liu is too weak to survive a long distance journey.

A statement released last week by the Shenyang hospital quoted the Western physicians as saying to Liu’s Chinese doctors: “We have no better options — you’ve already done a very good job,” under the headline “American, German experts claim Liu has no better options abroad”.

Geng said that “the foreign experts have admitted that China has given the best treatment to Liu Xiaobo”, adding that there has been “no precedent” of Chinese authorities allowing dissidents to leave the country for humanitarian reasons.

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Liu, 61, was granted medical parole and released from jail last month after he was diagnosed with cancer. He had been serving an 11-year prison sentence for “inciting subversion of state power” in Jinzhou, near Shenyang.

International pressure led the Communist regime to let medical specialists from the US and Germany to examine the dissident last weekend.



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