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China Invites Foreign Doctors to Help Treat Cancer-Stricken Nobel Peace Laureate

  • VOA News

FILE - An activist holds a placard demanding the release of Chinese Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo during a demonstration on the 20th anniversary of the territory's handover from Britain to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, China, July 1, 2017.

A Chinese hospital is inviting cancer specialists from the United States and Germany to help in its treatment of imprisoned dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.

The judicial bureau for the northeastern city of Shenyang, where Liu is being treated, said Wednesday the hospital issued the invitation after Liu's family made the request, and after consulting with the 61-year-old's medical team. Liu was granted medical parole back in May after he was diagnosed with late-stage kidney cancer.

The decision comes just two days after Germany urged China to allow Liu to travel abroad to receive treatment for his illness. Beijing claims the ailing dissident is too sick to leave the country, but Hu Jia, Liu's friend and fellow dissident, says a video that emerged on YouTube last weekend appeared to indicate that Liu was in stable condition.

Foreign governments and human rights groups have urged China to allow Liu to travel abroad to seek treatment wherever he chooses.

Liu is a poet and human rights activist who was arrested after writing Charter ’08, a manifesto calling for democratic reforms in China, and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 for his campaign for democracy and human rights. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power," a law often used by Chinese authorities to silence dissidents.

Foreign governments and human rights groups have urged China to allow Liu to travel abroad to seek treatment wherever he chooses.

Human Rights Watch researcher Maya Wang told VOA she does not see this as a concession by Chinese authorities.

"This is looking more like a way for the Chinese government to ease some of the pressure ... it does not want any more attention, particularly as the G-20 summit is coming up," she said.

Wang added that the case of Liu Xiaobo is one of the most visible and serious rights violations by the Chinese government since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Reliable, independent information on Liu's condition and his desire to travel has been difficult to obtain, as Liu and his wife, Liu Xia, have long been isolated by the authorities, out of the reach of most friends and the media.

VOA's Victor Beattie contributed to this report

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