China: Nobel-winning dissident in critical condition

In this file image taken from Jan 6 2008 video Liu Xiaobo speaks during an interview in his home in Beijing China

In this file image taken from Jan 6 2008 video Liu Xiaobo speaks during an interview in his home in Beijing China

Shenyang's First Hospital of China Medical University reported on Monday (10 July) that Liu, who has late-stage liver cancer, is suffering from a severely swollen stomach, low blood pressure and poor kidney function.

At a daily briefing on Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang repeatedly declined to say whether Liu would be allowed to leave China and asked other countries to "respect China's national sovereignty and refrain from interfering in China's domestic affairs due to an individual case". Both universities have declared their readiness to accept Liu, responding to requests by himself and his family.

A literary critic and university lecturer, Mr Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison in December 2009 for "inciting subversion of state power" by helping draft a blueprint for political change, known as Charter 08, calling for democracy, human rights and rule of law in China.

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.

The two Western doctors who visited Liu on Saturday afternoon said Liu and his family had requested that the remainder of his care be provided in Germany or the United States.

Calls have grown from rights groups and Western governments for China to allow Liu to travel with his wife, Liu Xia, to be treated overseas.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

Mr Liu, 61, was moved from prison - where he spent nearly eight years - to a hospital in the northeastern city of Shenyang recently after being diagnosed with liver cancer. Chinese authorities prohibited Liu's family from attending the ceremony in Norway, and officials placed the medal and diploma on an empty chair in their absence.

Hu said the Chinese government avoided bringing Liu to Beijing as it is preparing for a major party congress there in the autumn.

The staff member wrote on the NGO's website that they tried to call five of Liu's family members who were in Shenyang using different phones about 1,200 times starting at 5pm, but only three calls went through, and they were disconnected seconds later. Doctors treating Liu were in an "active rescue" mode, it added, saying they were trying to fight infections, correct Liu's blood pressure and purify his blood.

Several protests had been held earlier this month to get China to release Mr Liu.

"The primary thing we need is approval of the Chinese government to let them go and the issuance of passports for them", Genser told The Associated Press.

One clip showed Chinese doctors asking whether there was any better treatment possible for Liu, followed by a man, identified in text posted with the video as German doctor Markus Buechler, saying: "I don't think we can do better in Germany".

"It seems that security organs are steering the process, not medical experts".

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