Jailed Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo has been granted medical parole after being diagnosed with terminal-stage liver cancer.
While the international community has united in a chorus of condemnation in response to Monday’s news, Beijing maintains that he is a criminal, convicted of subverting state power. Below is a selection of reactions from inside and outside China.
The nationalist Chinese tabloid republished a press release from the Liaoning Prison Administrative Bureau, in the province where Liu was serving his sentence.
“Renowned cancer experts treat Liu Xiaobo on medical parole.”
Beijing-based dissident Hu Jia:
“It is political murder for a prisoner of conscience to be diagnosed with an incurable illness inside a prison of the Chinese Communist Party.”
The relatives of nine detained or released Chinese human rights lawyers, in a joint letter:
“We ask the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to take action, so as to give Liu, the detained lawyers and other rights advocates medical treatment and checkups from a trustworthy independent medical institution.”
Overseas dissidents Wu’er Kaixi and Wang Dan, who went on hunger strike with Liu during the 1989 Beijing student protests:
“The Chinese government deliberately sentenced him to death over the past nine years of the sentence he has served due simply to his outspoken thinking.”
— 吾尔开希 Wu'er Kaixi (@wuerkaixi) June 26, 2017
Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China:
“We strongly demand the authorities to stop isolating Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia, allow others to visit them, and grant Liu Xiaobo appropriate medical treatment as well as a choice of where to be treated.”
The organisers of the annual Tiananmen Massacre vigil staged a protest outside the China Liaison Office – Beijing’s government organ in Hong Kong – on Tuesday, as did the League of Social Democrats party.
Hong Kong legislator Nathan Law:
“The empty seat of Liu Xiaobo [when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010]… was an important moment of political enlightenment for me.”
Veteran journalist Bruce Lui:
“Last February, the media cited Liu’s relatives as saying that his health was not bad… What happened in prison? Why did regular health-checkups fail to discover Liu’s illness until he had terminal-stage cancer? Why was he only given medical parole when he was at death’s door? Was Liu refused medical parole even when he was gravely ill, because he refused to plead guilty? The Chinese government must answer all of these questions.”
NGO Human Rights Watch:
“The Chinese government should immediately and unconditionally allow 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and his detained wife, Liu Xia, to obtain medical treatment wherever they want, in China or abroad.”
Amnesty International Hong Kong researcher Patrick Poon:
“It adds injury to insult that Liu Xiaobo, who should never have been put in prison in the first place, has been diagnosed with a grave illness.”
Human Rights in China executive director Sharon Hom:
“We cannot stand by silently. We must demand accountability from the Chinese authorities.”
Freedom of expression group PEN International:
“The Chinese authorities must provide PEN member and Nobel Peace Laureate, Liu Xiaobo, with access to all necessary medical care following his diagnosis of late-stage liver cancer.”
The Norwegian Nobel Committee:
“The Committee is delighted to learn that Liu Xiaobo is out of prison at long last. At the same time the Committee strongly regrets that it took serious illness before Chinese authorities were willing to release him from jail.”
“Finally, the Committee would like to confirm its standing invitation to Liu Xiaobo to come to Oslo and receive the Committee’s tribute.”