China says Liu Xiaobo in ‘critical condition’
“While a degree of risk always exists in the movement of any patient, both physicians believe Mr. Liu can be safely transported with appropriate medical evacuation care and support,” said Dr. Joseph M. Herman of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Dr. Markus Büchler of the University of Heidelberg, in a joint statement Sunday.
“However, the medical evacuation would have to take place as quickly as possible.”
A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the case is “of great importance to the chancellor and that she would hope for a sign of humanity for Liu Xiaobo and his family.”
“This has always been a case which we have been following with great human sympathy,” the spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said.
Amid growing international concern over Liu’s health, a Chinese vice minister of justice met with representatives from the US, German and EU embassies in late June to brief them about his case and told diplomats Liu was too sick to travel abroad, according to a source familiar with the meeting.
A few days after the meeting, however, the authorities said they had approved the family’s request to invite Western doctors to join Liu’s medical team at a hospital in Shenyang in northeastern China.
Before the hospital issued its latest statement, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman on Monday repeatedly declined to say if Beijing would allow Liu to leave the country.
“We hope relevant countries will respect China’s judicial sovereignty and not use a so-called individual case to interfere in China’s internal affairs,” said Geng Shuang at a regular press briefing.
A statement released Saturday by the Shenyang hospital quoted the Western physicians as saying to Liu’s Chinese doctors: “We have no better options — you’ve already done a very good job,” under the headline “American, German experts claim Liu has no better options abroad.”
Liu, 61, was granted medical parole and released from jail last month after he was diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer. He had been serving an 11-year prison sentence for “inciting subversion of state power” in Jinzhou, near Shenyang.
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.
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