Health of Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Laureate, Is Said to Be Failing

Video grab of political prisoner Liu Xiaobo in an unspecified hospital released about two weeks before his death from cancer

Health of Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Laureate, Is Said to Be Failing

Liu remains in "active rescue" status, the First Hospital of China Medical University said in a brief statement on its website, without providing other details. According to the hospital, Liu is suffering from "infectious shock" and "spontaneous peritonitis" as fluids and inflammation build up in his abdomen.

Mr Liu's heath has deteriorated since authorities revealed last month (June) that he had been transferred from prison to a hospital due to late-stage liver cancer.

"We are aware of reports that the medical condition of jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate and writer Liu Xiaobo is rapidly deteriorating", USA embassy spokeswoman Mary Beth Polley said.

His most recent conviction, on Christmas Day 2009, stemmed from his co-authorship of Charter 08, a manifesto calling for political reform and human rights in China.

Two Western doctors visited him and said on Sunday that they deemed him strong enough to be evacuated, apparently contradicting Chinese expert opinion.

"Taiwan is also willing to provide all possible assistance", Chiu cited Tsai as saying, adding that "allowing Mr. Liu Xiaobo to receive proper medical care is the number one priority".

The German government is urging China to allow imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo to leave the country for medical treatment.

Health of Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Laureate, Is Said to Be Failing

The last time a political prisoner was granted medical parole and allowed to leave the country for treatment overseas was in 2005, when authorities released Rebiya Kadeer, a prominent businesswoman and activist for her Uighur ethnic minority group, according to the San Francisco-based Dui Hua Foundation, which has helped to arrange the release of a series of political prisoners in China.

"It's also legitimate to question if the authorities are releasing the information about his worsening health as an attempt to delay and justify not allowing Liu Xiaobo to leave the country", Poon said.

News searches for Liu's name on Baidu, China's largest internet search engine, have turned up no hits since February.

Amid growing global concern over Liu's health, a Chinese vice minister of justice met with representatives from the US, German and European Union embassies in late June to brief them about his case and told the diplomats that Liu was too sick to travel overseas, according to a source familiar with the meeting. "From learning of the approval for the Lius to travel, we could have the medevac there in 48 hours".

Surveillance video from Saturday leaked to English-language Chinese state media showed two foreign doctors at Liu's bedside telling his wife, Liu Xia, that the medical team assembled by China's government was doing its "utmost" for her husband.

The German embassy in Beijing issued a statement Monday criticizing China, noting that "security organs are steering the process, not medical experts".

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