A disturbing video has been published online showing a portion of a visit made by two foreign doctors to the bedside of China’s most famous jailed dissident, Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo.
Liu was recently transferred from his prison cell to a hospital room in Shenyang following a diagnosis of terminal liver cancer. Last Friday, his health reportedly took a turn for the worse with fluid filling the abdomen of the 61-year-old democracy activist who has lived behind bars since 2009 on charges of “subverting state power.” Doctors reportedly told Liu’s family to prepare for the worst, warning them that the end could come at any time.
China has repeatedly denied Liu permission to seek medical care abroad with Chinese doctors explaining that he is not well enough to travel. But, at the same time, the Chinese government has been trying to fight off perceptions of being the first government to let a Nobel Peace Prize laureate die in prison since the Nazis.
Edited videos and photos of Liu in the hospital have been released for public evaluation, while state media has insisted that he is receiving “world-class” medical care. Meanwhile, authorities have compromised somewhat by allowing foreign experts to visit Liu in Shenyang.
Two doctors, one from Germany and one from the United States, recently paid a visit to Liu’s hospital room. Chinese news outlets have shared a short and unsettling video clip of part of that visit. In the footage, German doctor Markus Büchler of Heidelberg University can be heard talking to Liu Xia, Liu Xiaobo’s wife, who stands at the foot of her ailing husband’s hospital bed, surrounded by a sea of Chinese doctors in white coats.
“It is very good that the doctors from China have asked us to come and to help, so they are very committed to the treatment of your man… of your husband,” Büchler says. “They want us to help and I think this is a very nice gest(ure).”
American doctor, Joseph Hermann from the University of Texas’s MD Anderson Cancer Center, is then seen trying to comfort Liu Xia who stands completely still. Büchler asks one of the Chinese doctors to translate his message to Liu Xia, while Hermann tries to get some tissues for her.
Following their visit, both doctors agreed that Liu Xiaobo was, in fact, well enough to be sent abroad to receive treatment; however, Liu’s Chinese doctors insisted that the risk of transferring their patient remains too great, once again refusing to allow him to go overseas. The Global Times also notes that the two foreign doctors agreed that “the Chinese medical team is doing a great job.”
However, the German government seems less happy with Chinese propaganda organs for releasing photos and videos of the doctors’ visit.
— Tom Phillips (@tomphillipsin) July 10, 2017
Meanwhile, fellow Chinese dissident Liao Yiwu posted on Facebook that Liu’s brother had urged the foreign doctors to help get Liu transferred abroad, saying that it was Liu’s last wish to travel to Germany with his wife. It appears as though that wish will go unfulfilled and that Liu Xiaobo will die in a hospital room not far from the prison where he spent much of the past decade.
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