Treatment outside of China ‘unlikely’ for Liu Xiaobo
Friends of Nobel laureate activist doubt he will be allowed treatment overseas for liver cancer, for which he was paroled from mainland prison
Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo is unlikely to be allowed medical treatment overseas for late-stage cancer, according to his friends, but his family is still fighting for him to do so.
The comments came after five foreign diplomats met justice ministry officials on Thursday, according to Guangzhou-based writer Ye Du, a close friend of Liu Xia, Liu Xiaobo’s wife.
Veteran journalist and activist Gao Yu tweeted about the meeting. “A deputy judicial minister met with diplomats from the United States, Germany and [the] European Union this morning. They were told that Liu Xiaobo is receiving the best possible care and that the family is happy with it,” Gao wrote.
The diplomats were told family members were “in consent with the current treatment plan” and that Liu was unfit for travelling due to his medical condition, Gao added.
A friend close of the family with knowledge of Liu’s current condition, who refused to be identified, said Liu was able to digest food.
“He is consuming half of the complete dosage of his target [drug] therapy, whereas previously he could only take one-fourth of the prescribed amount.”
Liu had been put under tight surveillance by police at the hospital in Shenyang, Liaoning province where he was receiving treatment, according to his friends.
Beijing is being seen as making an effort to silence critics and supporters of Liu who are pressuring the Chinese authorities in a signed petition calling for his full release.
Bao Tong, the former top aide to ousted party leader Zhao Ziyang, was visited by Beijing police on Thursday afternoon that he was told to refrain from “commenting on Liu in forms of articles or media interview”, according to his son Bao Pu who confirmed this to the South China Morning Post.
Meanwhile, about 20 supporters who signed an online petition calling for Liu’s full release were reportedly pressured to drop out from the campaign.
A three-minute video apparently showing aspects of the Nobel laureate’s time in prison appeared on YouTube late on Wednesday.
The source of the video or where it was filmed were not immediately clear, but it purported to show Liu in Jinzhou prison in Liaoning, where he had served eight years of an 11-year term for inciting subversion of state power.
Separately, the Shenyang prison authority released a statement online on Liu’s case, saying he had been diagnosed with metastatic liver cancer on June 7. This contradicted accounts by Liu’s friends that he had been diagnosed on May 23.
Veteran rights activist Hu Jia, who is a close friend of Liu’s, said the video and statement were designed to quell intense criticism and pressure at home and abroad over whether the sudden decision to grant parole because of his cancer came too late.
“Liu Xiaobo’s final wish is to die peacefully in a place where he is truly free. Can’t we just give them that?” Hu said.
The civil and political rights activist was convicted of inciting subversion after helping to write a petition known as Charter 08, calling for sweeping political reforms on the mainland.
Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, but was represented by an empty chair at the ceremony in Oslo.
He was granted medical parole in early June after being diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer, according to the Shenyang department of justice. Its statement said Liu was being treated by top medical experts from Beijing and Shanghai, and that previous medical examinations, including tests of his liver, had not shown irregularities.