China invites American, German cancer experts to treat Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo

Claudine Rigal
Juillet 6, 2017

The First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University in the Liaoning province invited cancer specialists from the U.S., Germany and elsewhere to join Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo's team of cancer physicians, according to The New York Times. He was recently moved from jail to a hospital to be treated for late-stage liver cancer.

The brief statement Wednesday said the Chinese medical team had agreed with a request from Liu's family for the foreign cancer experts.

The concession by China is seen by some as an attempt to improve its image on human rights as Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a G-20 Summit in Germany this weekend.

A prolific writer and longtime activist, Liu had been in and out of jail since the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989.

China has invited Western doctors to visit and treat terminally ill dissident Liu Xiaobo, amid growing global outcry over the government's treatment of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate. The German Embassy also declined to comment.

"The fact that they specially chose the U.S. and Germany suggests that the authorities are considering allowing Liu to travel to one of these two countries", the source said, although there were still questions about how the doctors would be chosen and what access they would have.

Chinese authorities announced they were going to invite doctors from Germany and the USA to treat Liu, but have ruled out allowing him to travel out of the country, Efe news reported.

A video posted last Wednesday by Boxun, an overseas Chinese news website known for its access to Chinese government sources, appeared to show Liu working, exercising and meeting visiting family members in prison. They made inquiries at likely floors, but were turned away when nurses said they were not aware of a patient by the name of Liu Xiaobo. They must let Liu Xiaobo and his wife, Liu Xia, travel overseas to get the medical treatment he so desperately needs.

"We request that China's judicial sovereignty be respected", Geng said at a daily media briefing.

Liu's plight has come under an worldwide spotlight amid allegations from his supporters that he had become gravely ill because his cancer wasn't detected and treated in time in prison - and that China has refused to let him seek treatment overseas for political reasons. He had been serving an 11-year prison sentence for "inciting subversion of state power" in Jinzhou, near Shenyang. That document and some of his prior writings called for political reforms that would end the one-party communist rule.

In 2010 Liu received the Nobel Peace Prize, but China did not let him travel to Oslo to receive it, nor did it allow him to send any friends or family to accept the award on his behalf.

China calls Liu a criminal who sought to overthrow the government and has denounced the awarding of the Nobel prize to him as an attack on its political and legal system.

"Time is running out for Liu Xiaobo", Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's secretary general, said Wednesday in a statement. The invitation to foreign experts appeared to be "in part an attempt to limit worldwide criticism", it said.

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