Chinese Nobel laureate Liu can travel abroad: Doctors

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Beijing, July 9 (IANS) The international team of physicians examining Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who is suffering from terminal cancer, on Sunday said he is in a condition to travel abroad for treatment.

“While a degree of risk always exists in the movement of any patient, both physicians believe Liu can be safely transported with appropriate medical evacuation care and support,” Xinhua news agency cited University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston as saying.

“However, the medical evacuation would have to take place as quickly as possible,” said the statement, which is signed by Joseph M. Herman from the hospital’s Department of Radiation Oncology and Markus Buchler from the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

Both institutions “have each agreed to accept Liu for treatment” and are prepared to offer “the best possible care”, according to the statement.

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On Saturday, the doctors had visited the political dissident, who is being treated at the First Hospital of China Medical University in Shenyang city, and reviewed his medical history, examined him and had a lengthy conversation with the Chinese medical team attending to him.

Following this, the two physicians concluded that the patient is suffering from terminal liver cancer and thereby ratified the Chinese team’s decision to suspend cancer medication temporarily since his liver functions have deteriorated rapidly.

In Sunday’s statement, both physicians acknowledged the care being provided to Liu at the hospital and said they agreed with the diagnosis.

The prominent intellectual and writer was temporarily released and admitted to the hospital on June 7 after spending almost nine years in prison.

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The family then demanded that Liu be examined by foreign doctors, a request the Chinese government finally agreed to amid mounting international pressure although it has refused to allow Liu to travel abroad for treatment.

His wife Liu Xia and other relatives have been able to stay with him, but under strict surveillance by security forces, and are not allowed to speak to him, friends of the family told Efe.

Authorities have recently begun to provide more information on the state of Liu’s health, particularly through the hospital’s website.

The UN increased the pressure on China this week, urging authorities to allow a high-ranking UN officer to meet the dissident and his wife, to which the government has not given a positive reply.

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