The world is watching to see whether Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) allows terminally ill democracy activist Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) to leave China to receive treatment, Liu’s lawyer says.

The Chinese Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, who has about three years of an 11-year sentence to serve, was visited in hospital yesterday by cancer specialists from Germany and the United States.

In a statement just released, the doctors say Liu and his family have requested that the remainder of his care be provided in Germany or the United States. While they have recommended Liu receive palliative supportive care, they also say additional options may exist, including interventional procedures and radiotherapy.

“It has been explained to me, to put things more bluntly, that the additional recommended treatments abroad could both extend Liu's life by several weeks and also reduce the pain that he feels during his remaining days,” says Jared Genser, Liu’s Washington D.C.-based lawyer.

"If President Xi now decides he wants to keep Liu Xiaobo in China and silenced he will have to do so in the full view of the world knowing he is intentionally hastening his death. He is personally deciding that Liu Xiaobo will suffer more pain, and that he is refusing to honor the wishes of a dying man to receive the treatment he desires,” Genser says.

According to the doctors’ statement, while a degree of risk always exists in the movement of any patient, they believe Liu can be safely transported with appropriate medical evacuation care and support.

“However, the medical evacuation would have to take place as quickly as possible,’’ they say.

Medical institutions in the U.S. and Germany have agreed to accept Liu for treatment.


photo credit: 野渡Twitter

Medical release

Liu was diagnosed on May 23 and was released for medical treatment days later.

The 61-year-old democracy campaigner was being treated at a hospital in the northeastern city of Shenyang.

The writer was jailed in 2009 for "subversion" after spearheading a bold petition for democratic reforms.

He was awarded the Nobel peace prize a year later. He is one of only three people to have won the award while jailed by their own government.

China strongly condemned his Nobel prize as unwanted foreign interference in its internal affairs and refused to allow him to attend the ceremony in Oslo — where he was represented instead by an empty chair.

The international community has been calling for his release for years.

Liu was arrested in 2008 after co-writing Charter 08, a bold petition that called for the protection of basic human rights and the reform of China's one-party Communist system.

Charter 08, which was posted online, specifically demands the abolition of subversion as an offense in China's criminal code — the very crime for which Liu has been jailed.

His wife, Liu Xia (劉霞), has been under house arrest since 2010. She suffered a heart attack in 2014 when she was diagnosed with depression after years of detention, a human rights group said at the time.

Additional reporting: AFP
Editor: Olivia Yang