Jailed Nobel laureate’s condition life threatening
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.