Jailed No­bel lau­re­ate’s con­di­tion life threat­en­ing

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

Im­pris­oned Chi­nese No­bel Peace Prize lau­re­ate Liu Xiaobo’s con­di­tion is now life threat­en­ing with mul­ti­ple or­gan fail­ure, and his fam­ily has opted against in­sert­ing a breath­ing tube needed to keep him alive, the hos­pi­tal treat­ing him said Wed­nes­day.

Liu, who has ad­vanced liver can­cer, is suf­fer­ing from res­pi­ra­tory and re­nal fail­ure as well as sep­tic shock, the First Hos­pi­tal of China Med­i­cal Univer­sity said on its web­site.

The hos­pi­tal said doc­tors in­formed Liu’s fam­ily of the need for a tra­cheostomy to keep him alive, but they de­clined. Liu and his fam­ily, who are be­ing closely guarded in the hos­pi­tal, could not im­me­di­ately be reached for com­ment.

Liu, China’s most prom­i­nent po­lit­i­cal pris­oner, was di­ag­nosed in May af­ter his can­cer had en­tered the fi­nal stages and was trans­ferred to the hos­pi­tal in the north­east­ern city of Shenyang. He is ac­com­pa­nied by a small group of fam­ily mem­bers, in­clud­ing his wife, the poet and artist Liu Xia, but is kept out of the sight of sup­port­ers and the me­dia.

Ex­iled Chi­nese dis­si­dent Yu Jie, a close friend of the cou­ple, said he was “very sad and an­gry” at the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in Liu’s con­di­tion.

“In front of the world, Liu Xiaobo is be­ing mur­dered by (Chi­nese Pres­i­dent) Xi Jin­ping. Yet not a sin­gle West­ern po­lit­i­cal fig­ure is con­demn­ing Xi Jin­ping,” Yu said.

“This is a sign of the com­plete fail­ure of West­ern hu­man rights diplo­macy,” he said.

Liu’s de­clin­ing health has be­come the sub­ject of in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion, with sup­port­ers and sev­eral for­eign gov­ern­ments call­ing for him to be freed on hu­man­i­tar­ian grounds.

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s spokesman, St­ef­fen Seib­er­ton, told re­porters Wed­nes­day that China should al­low Liu to leave the coun­try for med­i­cal treat­ment.

Pres­i­dent Tsai Ing-wen of Tai­wan tweeted a sim­i­lar ap­peal on Wed­nes­day, join­ing a cho­rus of pleas al­ready made by the U.S., Bri­tain, France and sev­eral other gov­ern­ments.

Two for­eign doc­tors, one Ger­man and one Amer­i­can, re­ported Sun­day af­ter vis­it­ing Liu that he ex­pressed a de­sire to leave for the West and said it would be pos­si­ble to evac­u­ate him safely — but that it needed to hap­pen soon.

Beijing has re­buffed those calls, say­ing Liu is too sick to travel and is al­ready re­ceiv­ing the best care pos­si­ble. China has ac­cused other coun­tries of politi­ciz­ing the writer’s case and in­ter­fer­ing in China’s in­ter­nal af­fairs.

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