Despite calls from around the globe for China to give Liu Xiaobo, recently diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, the choice of where he wants to be treated, the country’s most famous jailed dissident is still being treated in Shenyang by Chinese cancer experts, including specialists in traditional Chinese medicine.
Liu Xia, the wife of Liu Xiaobo, has allegedly agreed to allow her husband to be treated with traditional Chinese medicine therapy following a consultation last week with two top TCM experts from Beijing and Shanghai with “rich experience in liver cancer treatment,” Chinese state media reported on Friday, citing an official statement from the Shenyang Bureau of Justice.
During the consultation, the traditional Chinese medicine experts reportedly agreed that Liu’s diagnosis (of late-stage cancer) was clear, but thought that supplementary TCM therapy could “improve the effect of chemotherapy and reduce side effects,” helping to lessen his suffering.
On Monday, as if to assuage fears about Liu’s treatment following the TCM announcement, the Shenyang Bureau of Justice released another statement, declaring that Liu was being treated by “top-notch medical teams” using the “world’s most advanced medicines and therapies.” The statement added that Liu’s relatives were “satisfied with the hospital’s work and have expressed gratitude to the medical team.”
Jailed since 2009 on charges of “inciting subversion of state power” for authoring a document calling for increased democracy in China, Liu was recently released from prison on medical parole after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer in late May. The 61-year-old human rights activist is being treated at the No.1 Hospital of the China Medical University in Shenyang by a team of “eight renowned cancer experts.”
Ever since the announcement of Liu’s failing health, the Nobel laureate’s treatment plan has become a topic of intense international discussion with calls from both the United States and the European Union for China to allow Liu the freedom to choose where he is treated.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has dismissed these calls, warning other countries to stay out of China’s internal affairs and telling them that Liu cannot be moved. At the same time, Liu’s family has been told that Liu is simply too sick to travel abroad for treatment. Meanwhile, to demonstrate that he is being properly cared for in China, authorities have released photos and videos showing Liu inside the hospital.
However, these images have only made Liu’s friends question China’s claims. “Based on the videos and the photo, we know for sure that his conditions have not deteriorated,” said fellow Chinese political dissident Hu Jia. “There’s no question that Liu Xiaobo can travel.
Meanwhile, Radio Free Asia reports that Liu’s family also believes he is still well enough to travel and that next week would be the perfect time for him to move abroad for treatment while his health is holding out. An assessment that the Chinese government is likely to disagree with.
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