China invites foreign experts to treat Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo


The hospital where Liu is being treated invited top cancer specialists from the United States, Germany and other countries to see the dissident at the request of his family, said a statement released Wednesday by judicial authorities in Shenyang, a city in northeastern China where Liu is hospitalized.

The country's justice department posted the invitation on its website July 5.

As NPR has reported, late last month the 61-year-old Liu was allowed out of prison on parole for medical treatment after apparently receiving a diagnosis of terminal liver cancer at the end of May.

Liu was diagnosed in May while serving an 11-year sentence for inciting subversion by advocating sweeping political reforms that would end China's one-party rule. In 2010, while in prison, Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China" - prompting an infuriated Beijing to place his wife under house arrest and freeze diplomatic ties with Norway, where the prize victor is chosen.

Since he was released, China has faced global calls to give Liu the option to get treatment overseas.

Wen and another friend of Liu's, Mo Zhixu, tried to visit Liu at the First Hospital of China Medical University in Shenyang where the authorities said Liu is being treated.

Amnesty International yesterday reiterated calls for Liu and his wife, the poet Liu Xia, to be allowed to travel overseas.

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Yet his friends have raised concerns that Liu, his wife and other family members have not been able to freely communicate with the outside and that their messages have been tightly controlled by authorities, who say Liu's family has been satisfied with their course of treatment.

"Xiaobo is out of prison but he and his family are not free at the hospital", said Hu Jia, a leading Chinese human-rights activist who has known Liu's wife for years and has served prison terms for his own advocacy.

"It's very serious", he said.

The Chinese government has invited foreign medical experts, including from the U.S. and Germany, to help treat Liu, according to a statement posted yesterday (link in Chinese) by the justice bureau in Shenyang. "We Americans would like to see him have the opportunity for treatment elsewhere, if that could be of help". Last week, a video showing scenes of a man resembling Liu in prison surfaced online, though the source of the video was not clear.

A prolific writer and longtime activist, Liu had been in and out of jail since the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.