Germany on Monday urged China to allow terminally ill Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo to travel abroad for treatment for late-stage liver cancer, echoing similar calls from the European Union and the United States.
China claims that the ailing dissident is too sick to leave the country but on Monday Liu's friend Hu Jia, also a political dissident, said a video emerged on YouTube over the weekend that appeared to indicate that Liu was in stable condition.
Medical experts were seen saying that Liu's treatment plan was going smoothly.
"Currently, his situation is acceptable,'' an unidentified male doctor in a white coat was seen saying in the video, which did not include any images of Liu and was dated Wednesday.
The Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy also cited an unnamed family member as saying that Liu is regaining his physical abilities and that he is able to walk.
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 authorities, out of the reach of most friends and the media.
While the couple have not publicly stated their willingness to go abroad, their friends believe they wish to do so, based on Liu Xia's earlier indications to her friends.
Liu Xiaobo is a poet and human rights activist who was detained in 2008 and sentenced to 11 years in prison for "inciting subversion of state power." The law is often used by the Chinese authorities to silence dissidents.
He 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.