Wed, Jun 28, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Liu Xiaobo’s cancer beyond treatment, wife says

Reuters, BEIJING

Protesters wear masks of Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo during a demonstration outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong yesterday.

Photo: AP

Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Liu Xiaobo’s (劉曉波) liver cancer cannot be treated with surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, his wife said, as questions increased among his supporters over his treatment by the Chinese authorities.

Liu, 61, was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power” after he helped write a petition known as “Charter 08” calling for sweeping political reforms.

In December 2010, Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his activism in promoting human rights in China, which responded by freezing diplomatic ties with Norway. They normalized ties in December last year.

Liu is being treated in a hospital in the northern city of Shenyang for late-stage liver cancer, having been granted medical parole, his lawyer said on Monday.

A video of Liu’s wife, Liu Xia (劉霞), who has been under effective house arrest since her husband won the Nobel Peace Prize, crying and talking about her husband’s condition was shared online late on Monday.

“[They] cannot perform surgery, cannot perform radiotherapy, cannot perform chemotherapy,” Liu Xia said in the video.

She did not elaborate. It was not clear when the video was filmed.

A source close to the family confirmed the authenticity of the video and said Liu Xiaobo was being treated using targeted therapy.

“They say his cancer has already spread too far for other treatments, but because we cannot meet the doctors treating him, we have no way to tell if this is true,” he said.

Liu Xiaobo and his wife wanted to return to Beijing for treatment, but the authorities rejected their request, the source said.

The prison bureau of Liaoning Province on Monday said that Liu Xiaobo was being treated by eight “well-known tumor experts,” but Western politicians and rights activists have voiced concern about the quality of treatment.

The US called for his release.

“We call on the Chinese authorities to not only release Mr Liu, but also to allow his wife, Ms Liu Xia, out of house arrest,” said Mary Beth Polley, a spokeswoman for the US embassy in Beijing.

China should “provide them the protections and freedoms, such as freedom of movement and access to medical care of his choosing, to which they are entitled under China’s constitution and legal system, and international commitments,” she said.

Liu Xiaobo was in serious condition, but his life was not in immediate danger, Amnesty International researcher Patrick Poon (潘嘉偉) said.

His wife was taking care of him in hospital, but it is unclear when she learned about his disease, which was diagnosed late last month, Poon said.

“While Liu Xiaobo is on medical parole, it doesn’t mean he is entirely free and he is still subject to various restrictions,” Poon said.

US Senator Marco Rubio, co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, issued a statement urging US President Donald Trump to seek Liu Xiaobo’s “immediate humanitarian transfer to the United States.”

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang (陸慷) said the issue was an internal affair.

“We have said many times that no country has the right to gesticulate about China’s internal affairs,” Lu told a regular briefing.

Asked whether China would consider allowing Liu Xiaobo to go abroad for treatment, Lu said: “All other countries should respect China’s judicial independence and sovereignty, and should not use any so-called individual case to interfere in China’s internal affairs.”

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