Merkel appeals to China for ‘humanity’ for ailing Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo
Chinese hospital treating dissident orders staff to be ready to resuscitate him
Germany stepped up its public support for ailing Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo on Monday, with Berlin saying Chancellor Angela Merkel hoped Beijing would show “a signal of humanity” towards the dissident.
The appeal came as the Chinese hospital treating Liu said it had ordered its medical staff to be ready to resuscitate Liu, saying for the first time that his condition was critical.
The German embassy in Beijing also complained about leaked surveillance video of a German doctor’s visit to Liu at a hospital in Shenyang, Liaoning province, saying the footage was released without permission.
In Berlin, Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said the latest report of Liu’s worsening health “is depressing”.
“This tragic case of Liu Xiaobo is a great concern for the chancellor, and she would like a signal of humanity for Liu Xiaobo and his family,” Seibert said.
Asked whether the chancellor spoke to President Xi Jinping about Liu’s family’s wish for the dissident to be treated overseas, Seibert said he would not comment on confidential conversations, the Associated Press reported.
A German foreign ministry source said Germany “had several high-level discussions with the Chinese side on Liu’s wish to exit China for medical treatment”.
“We continue to stand ready to accept Liu Xiaobo for medical treatment in Germany,” the source said.
Berlin-based Chinese dissident and writer Liao Yiwu said that according to a mutual friend, Merkel had “tried her best to raise the issue of Liu Xiaobo every day” with the Chinese president during his stay in Germany for a state visit and the G20 summit last week.
Meanwhile, the German embassy criticised the release of footage apparently showing German and US specialists visiting Liu in his ward with their Chinese counterparts. In the clips, the foreign doctors appeared to praise the quality of care Liu received at the First Hospital of China Medical University in Shenyang.
The embassy said the recordings “were made against the expressed wishes of the German side”.
“It seems that security organs are steering the process, not medical experts. This behaviour undermines trust in the authorities dealing with Mr Liu’s case, which is vital to ensure maximum success of his medical treatment,” the embassy said in a statement.
The hospital also issued a statement saying Liu suffered from multiple kidney, abdominal, intestine and internal bleeding problems. His blood pressure was low and an MRI scan indicated that his liver cancer had grown.
The hospital ruled him out as a candidate for radiotherapy and other interventional treatment.
“The team of [Chinese] specialists assessed the patient’s condition as critical ,” the hospital’s statement said.
The Chinese medical team’s assessment countered the foreign doctors’ opinion that other options such as intervention and radiotherapy could be pursued if Liu’s liver function improved. The US and German specialists who saw Liu on Saturday said Liu could be moved overseas safely but quick action was needed.
Asked on Monday if Liu would be allowed to go overseas for treatment, Reuters reported that Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said: “China hopes relevant countries will respect China’s sovereignty and will not use individual cases to interfere with China’s internal affairs.”
Liu was released to the hospital on medical parole last month after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. He was serving an 11-year sentence on a subversion charge.