The Chinese hospital caring for cancer-stricken Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo has decided to invite US, German and other foreign experts to treat him in China following international pressure to let him go abroad.
The legal bureau of Shenyang — the northeastern city where Liu is being treated — said in a statement Wednesday the invitation was made “at the request” of Liu’s family.
China has faced global calls to give Liu the option to get treatment abroad since it emerged last month that he was transferred from prison to a hospital after he was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.
Beijing has come under fire from human rights groups over its treatment of Liu and for waiting until he became terminally sick to take him out of prison.
But authorities have insisted that the 61-year-old Nobel laureate has been getting top-notch care from prominent Chinese cancer doctors at China Medical University No 1 Hospital in Shenyang.
Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 for “subversion” after calling for democratic reform.
The invitation of foreign experts came after Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Berlin on Tuesday for a state visit and the G20 summit in Hamburg on Friday.
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday that Berlin hopes Liu will get “all the medical support he needs” and that a “humanitarian solution for Liu Xiaobo should be the highest priority”.
The new US ambassador to Beijing, Terry Branstad, said last week that he would like to see Liu have the chance to get treatment abroad.
Friends fear the worst
Friends of Liu and his wife, Liu Xia, fear that the dissident may only have months to live and say the couple wants him to go abroad.
Hu Jia, a prominent Beijing-based activist, told AFP that Liu’s treatment is aimed at reducing the pain and helping him live longer.
“Maybe he can still live for six months. But it is difficult to change the result that a Nobel Peace Prize winner dies due to the persecution of the CPC (Chinese Communist Party),” he said.
The Shenyang legal bureau said Monday that Liu, whose cancer had spread to other parts of his body, was receiving chemotherapy and the “most advanced” drug to treat liver cancer.
He has also received traditional Chinese medicine “as a supplementary treatment”, the bureau said, adding that the family has been “satisfied” with the care he has received and “expressed their appreciation”.