The health of China’s most famous jailed dissident, Liu Xiaobo, has reportedly taken a turn for the worse with his friends saying that his death could come at any time.
Liu was transferred from prison to a hospital in Shenyang last month following a diagnosis of terminal liver cancer. China has resisted calls from activists and foreign governments to allow the 61-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner, who has lived behind bars since 2009, to seek treatment abroad, explaining that his health is not good enough to travel, while maintaining that he is receiving “world-class” medical care from a team of China’s top experts.
Despite these physicians best efforts, Liu’s health deteriorated significantly on Wednesday with sources telling Hong Kong’s RTHK that he has now become “too weak” for treatment. Yang Jianli, a good friend of Liu’s, said that Liu is now also suffering from a kidney problem due to fluid building up in his abdomen as a result of his liver disease.
Meanwhile, dissident poet Ye Du tweeted on Thursday that Liu’s relatives have been told that he does not have much more time left. The First Hospital of China Medical University has also confirmed that its patient’s health is worsening; however, it has also published a written statement, apparently from Liu Xiaobo’s brother, denying that doctors have stopped treating Liu with medicine.
“I’m angry with those who are distorting facts and spreading rumors,” the statement reads, adding that Liu’s family is grateful for the efforts that the medical team has made.
According to Apple Daily, Liu’s family have been put on 24-hour standby. His death could come at any time.
China has invited foreign experts to come to China to help treat Liu and the United States is currently putting together a team, according to Yang Jianli; but it’s not clear if they will arrive in time. Meanwhile, Liu’s many friends and colleagues have asked in an open letter to be granted permission to see him one last time inside his heavily-guarded hospital room.
For the Chinese government, the timing could not be worse with Liu’s health set to overshadow the G20 summit in Hamburg. Instead of attention being focused on Beijing’s agenda, talk is certain to center around how China has treated the human rights activist who was jailed in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power” after helping to author a document that called for the elimination of one-party rule. The document would help Liu win the Nobel Peace Prize one year later.
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