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Nobel Prize Winner Too Sick to Travel, China Says

Video clips show China's jailed Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo lying on a bed receiving medical treatment at a hospital, left, and Liu saying wardens take good care of him, on a computer screens in Beijing, June 29, 2017.
Nobel Prize Winner Too Sick to Travel, China Says
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Officials of a hospital in China say that Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo is too sick to travel to another country to receive treatment for cancer.

Liu was recently moved to the First Hospital of China Medical University in Shenyang for medical treatment. He was diagnosed with very serious liver cancer in May.

Hospital officials say Liu’s blood pressure is falling and his stomach is swollen. They say he is suffering from other problems, as well.

Two foreign doctors -- one from the United States and the other from Germany -- met with Liu last week. They said on Sunday he could be moved safely to another country for treatment. They said Liu wanted to go to either Germany or the United States. But, they said the move should happen soon.

Since news of Liu’s illness was reported, he has been released on medical parole.

Rights groups say Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, and his family members are permitted to be with him, but are not permitted to speak to news media.

Police keep the two under close watch. One rights group based in Hong Kong says the two were being pressured to sign a statement saying they support the decision of Chinese doctors that it is “unsafe to move Liu.”

On Monday, China’s Foreign Ministry asked other countries to, in its words, “respect its sovereignty.” The ministry added that discussing Liu’s treatment overseas represented “interference in its internal affairs.”

Video of Liu Xiaobo, family, doctors appears on YouTube

Video of Liu and his wife speaking in the hospital has recently appeared on YouTube.

Video of the two foreign doctors who met with Liu -- Dr. Joseph M. Herman of the University of Texas Anderson Cancer Center and Dr. Markus Buechler of the University of Heidelberg – have also recently appeared on YouTube.

Dr. Buechler protested the posting of the video, saying that security officials seemed to be controlling the process, “not medical experts.” The German embassy also protested the video.

He said the presence of the videos hurts trust in how officials are dealing with the case.

Officials have strengthened security around the hospital in the city of Shenyang.

Two VOA crew members face men claiming to be with hospital security on July 8, 2017, in Shenyang, China
Two VOA crew members face men claiming to be with hospital security on July 8, 2017, in Shenyang, China

A reporter from the Voice of America and an assistant said they were questioned and followed by men who claimed to be hospital security guards. They did not have identification, however.

The VOA reporter was trying to shoot video outside of the hospital in Shenyang. The reporter also said the men then tried to move him and his assistant away from the area by force.

Liu Xiaobo received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 for his support of non-violent efforts for human rights. He helped write a petition known as “Charter 08” calling for political reform in China.

In 2009, however, he was sentence to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power.” He had been in prison since that time until his recent diagnosis with liver cancer. He was then moved to a hospital for treatment.

I’m Mario Ritter.

Ye Bing and Bill Ide reported this story for VOA News with contributions from Joyce Huang and Hai Yan. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

Do you think Liu Xiaobo should be permitted to travel to a foreign country for treatment? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.


Words in This Story

swollen, past participle of swellv. to become larger than normal

parole –n. permission for a prisoner to leave prison before the end of a sentence for good behavior

sovereignty –n. a country’s power to govern itself

internal – adj. inside

affairs –n. work or activities done to carry on person, private or public business

petition –n. a document signed by people that shows they want a person, organization or government to do something