Sun, Jul 02, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Ailing China dissident Liu’s ‘time is limited’: family

LIVE AND DIE FREE:One source close to the Nobel laureate’s family said the activist was not just looking for a place to die free, but also a way to free his wife and brother

Reuters, BEIJING

Chinese activist Liu Xiaobo’s (劉曉波) “time is limited” due to a fluid buildup around his stomach caused by liver scarring, a family member said, after authorities said Liu could not be moved abroad due to his illness.

Nobel Peace Prize winner 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.

He was being treated in Shenyang, China, for late-stage liver cancer after being granted medical parole, his lawyer told reporters on Monday.

“His physical condition is not good and has shifted to ascites due to cirrhosis,” the relative said in a message seen by reporters, referring to a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity caused by advanced liver scarring.

“It seems his time is limited,” the message said.

Two sources close to the family confirmed the authenticity of the message, which was sent late on Thursday, but asked that both their identities and the identity of the sender remain secret to avoid harassment from authorities.

A man who answered the telephone at the hospital where Liu is being treated said he was not aware of the case.

Chinese authorities on Thursday told US, German and EU diplomats that Liu could not be moved to get medical treatment elsewhere due to his illness and that his family agreed he should be treated where he is, a source briefed on the meeting told reporters.

Asked on Friday about China’s discussions with other countries, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Lu Kang (陸慷) said: “The relevant issue is an internal affair of China’s. I cannot see any need to discuss this with any other country.”

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini called on China to immediately grant Liu parole on humanitarian grounds, allow him to be treated overseas if he wished and freely communicate with the outside world.

One source close to Liu’s family said he did not consider the change in Liu’s illness sufficient reason for him to want to stay in China.

“Liu Xiaobo is not just looking for a place to die free; he also wants to find a means of freeing his wife and brother,” the source said.

In a statement late on Friday, the Shenyang legal bureau cited Liu’s wife, Liu Xia (劉霞), as saying that she believed the hospital was doing all it could for her husband, thanked the medical experts and agreed to traditional Chinese medicine to help with treatment.

Liu Xia has been under effective house arrest since her husband won the peace prize in 2010.

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