Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo's breathing has failed: hospital

Trevor Jackson
July 13, 2017

The Chinese hospital treating Liu Xiaobo says the imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate has respiratory failure and his condition is now life-threatening.

Liu, 61, is being treated for worsening liver function, septic shock and organ dysfunction, and remains on dialysis, the hospital in the northeastern city of Shenyang said in a short online statement, its latest update.

After Liu's diagnosis was made public in June, a jailhouse video montage quickly found its way onto YouTube that showed him playing badminton with a prison guard, chatting with his wife during a visit and sitting for a teeth cleaning - all meant to show a decent quality of life behind bars at Jinzhou Prison. Liu and his family, who are being closely guarded in the hospital, could not immediately be reached for comment.

A statement released Saturday by the Shenyang hospital quoted the Western physicians as saying to Liu's Chinese doctors: "We have no better options - you've already done a very good job", under the headline "American, German experts claim Liu has no better options overseas".

But Chinese officials have ignored calls by global human rights groups, western governments and local activists to grant Liu's wish to be treated overseas, raising fears he will die without having tasted freedom.

Human rights groups said it was almost impossible to obtain independent information about Mr. Liu's health given that he is in a heavily guarded hospital and his wife, who is with him and also not free.

He was sentenced to 11 years in prison in December 2009 for "subversion".

Male only island given natural heritage status
The ban on female visitors specifically "has nothing to do with discrimination against women", the official told AFP by phone. The island is considered sacred by the local Munakata Taisha and consists of a single employee of the shrine.

Asked about Germany's statement, the foreign ministry on Tuesday said it did not know anything about the issues raised, reiterating its position that countries should not interfere in China's internal affairs. He was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize in absentia for his work campaigning for human rights in China.

Liu was diagnosed with cancer and is now in a critical condition, Chiu said.

U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, a former Iowa governor, told reporters June 28 in Beijing that he hoped the two sides could work together to allow Liu access to foreign medical care.

While the hospital has tried active anti-infection therapy and blood purification treatment, those procedures have not helped to improve the condition of Liu's liver.

The US government expressed concern Wednesday about the status of China's Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and urged Beijing to release the cancer-stricken democracy activist and his wife so he can receive appropriate medical care.

A video leaked earlier this week showed the Western doctors praising their Chinese counterparts as they stood by Liu's bedside.

The German statement also said the country's security services were steering Liu's treatment rather than the doctors.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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