China: Permit Liu Xiaobo to Leave for Medical Care

"The crackdown on human rights defenders and activists has been getting more serious", said Patrick Poon, China researcher at Amnesty International.

"The campaign to establish universal human rights also in China is being waged by many Chinese, both in China itself and overseas".

Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo has been released from prison on medical grounds after he was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, his lawyer said.

"The global community can see that China has no human rights when even Nobel prize winners have been treated like this", Beijing-based lawyer Yu Wensheng said, adding that when Liu dies it will be "a heavy blow" for China's human rights movement.

Imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate and dissident Liu Xiaobo has been transferred to a hospital after being diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer, authorities and his friends say.

His family has so far ruled out seeking medical aid overseas.

Mo said Liu requested to be treated outside of prison, and that the request was approved.

Mr. Shang said that he had not heard whether the Chinese authorities had formally granted Mr. Liu medical parole, or whether the release from prison was informal.

Asked about Liu's parole, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing: "I am not aware of the situation you're talking about". "No country shall interfere with China's internal affairs through any individual case", Lu said.

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Both took part in the Tiananmen protests in 1989 for democracy in China which was crushed with a massive force.

Liu was formally arrested on June 23, 2009, on suspicion of "alleged agitation activities aimed at subversion of the government and overthrowing of the socialist system". He received a surprisingly harsh 11-year prison term for "inciting subversion of state power". Depending on the result, parole can be extended or the person sent back to prison to serve the rest of their sentence. Authorities also put Liu's wife, Liu Xia, under house arrest.

Born in 1955, Liu was a worker in his youth. Activists have also been alarmed by Liu Xia's gradual descent into depression after the soft-spoken poet and artist was forcibly sequestered by state security at home during her husband's imprisonment.

Even during his teaching days, however, the bespectacled intellectual was seen as a dark horse for his sharp rebuke over traditional ideologies and official doctrines.

The US embassy in Beijing joined a growing chorus of Chinese human rights lawyers and activists demanding Liu's unconditional release amid concerns about his wellbeing. He spent time in the U.S. and Europe as a visiting scholar, and turned his attention to the fight for democracy and human rights back home.

"Last February, the media cited Liu's relatives as saying that his health was not bad..."

Liu was arrested in 2008 for his role in the writing of Charter 08, a manifesto calling for China's democratic transition that was signed by thousands of people inside the country.

Following his Nobel award, China froze diplomatic ties with Norway - relations were normalised only last December.

The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, who taught at the Beijing Normal University and written about democracy and human rights, is not the first important critic of the Chinese government to become seriously ill due to a lack of proper healthcare and diagnosis while in an arbitrary detention.

  • Adam Floyd