Liu Xiaobo 'on his deathbed': China under international pressure to free ailing Nobel laureate

Shenyang: China faced sustained international pressure on Thursday to let cancer-stricken Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo seek treatment abroad, as official hospital updates suggest the democracy champion is close to death.

Protesters display portrait of Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo. AP

Protesters display portrait of Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo. AP

The United States and Germany voiced concerns over the 61-year-old writer after the hospital treating him said on Wednesday he had organ failure and difficulty breathing.

The doctors said Liu needed to be on artificial ventilation to be kept alive, but his family declined, according to the First Hospital of China Medical University in the northeastern city of Shenyang.

Human rights groups have decried the lack of independent reports about Liu's health, accusing the authorities of manipulating information as the heavily-guarded hospital's website has been the only source of medical updates.

Liu, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for "subversion" in 2009, was admitted to the hospital early last month after he was transferred from prison due to late-stage liver cancer.

"We remain concerned that both Mr. Liu and his family are unable to communicate with the outside world and that he is not free to seek the medical treatment of his choosing", White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Wednesday.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Berlin "stands ready to host and medically" treat him.

The latest health updates "raise the question of whether Mr Liu's cancer should have been diagnosed and treated far earlier", Seibert said.

Taiwan's president Tsai Ing-wen also called on Beijing to free Liu and reiterated her offer to have Liu treated on the self-governed island, which China considers a breakaway province.

The Chinese government has rebuffed international appeals to let Liu seek treatment abroad, saying he is getting the best possible care from top domestic doctors and that other countries should not "intefere with China's internal affairs".

Updated Date: Jul 13, 2017 11:48 AM

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