Liu Xiaobo

Dying Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo still pleading to leave China

Jailed political activist suffering from terminal cancer says he wants to die in a free nation and for his wife to also leave the mainland, according to friends

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2017, 1:04pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 July, 2017, 3:03pm

Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo is still pressing to leave the country for treatment of terminal liver cancer, and his wife to go with him, even though he may not have long to live, his friends say.

The hospital in northeast China’s Shenyang where Liu, 61, is receiving care said in a statement on Tuesday staff continued to do all they could but his condition was complicated by ­organ failure and septic shock.

Liu’s friends said part of the reason he continued to seek permission to go abroad was in the hope his wife, Liu Xia, could ­accompany him and live in a “free nation”.

“Even though he only has one day left or even might die on the plane leaving China, we should still honour his wish,” said rights activist Hu Jia, a family friend. “This is his way of saving and ­expressing his love for Liu Xia.”

She has been living under house arrest since October 2010, a year after her husband was jailed for 11 years on subversion charges. Liu Xiaobo was released on medical parole after being diagnosed with liver cancer in May, and the couple have been seen together in video taken at the hospital that has surfaced online.

ends were also concerned about Liu Xia’s mental state, saying she admitted she was suffering from depression and a heart condition.

Bao Tong, a former top aide to late Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang who was ousted in the 1980s, said Liu had expressed the wish to leave China on Sunday, even though he was severely ill.

Bao told the South China Morning Post that a friend had spoken to Liu over the weekend and the rights activist said he would “rather die in a free nation and that Liu Xia should live in a free nation”.

“Born as a free person, [one should] die as a free spirit. This has been Liu Xiaobo’s lifetime pursuit. China is big, but is it big enough to contain freedom and those who pursue it?” Bao said later on Twitter.

Germany, the United States, and Britain have appealed for Liu to be treated at a location of his choice, but so far the Chinese authorities have resisted the ­entreaties.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing hoped “relevant countries can respect the judicial sovereignty of China and not interfere in China’s internal affairs under the pretext of an individual case”.

Liu’s Chinese doctors have said he is unfit for travel but the German and American specialists said over the weekend he could be moved abroad, however quick ­action was needed.

An editorial by the state-run Global Times tabloid published on Monday was more blunt, saying that Liu should not be given special status and blamed Western nations for “politicising” the case.

Liu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. The jailed dissident was represented by an empty chair at the ceremony in Norway.