White House urges China to release ailing Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo

Washington: Concerned that China's cancer-stricken Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo is not free to seek the medical treatment of his choosing, the US has urged China to grant him full parole and release his wife from house arrest.
"We understand the Chinese hospital treating Nobel Peace Prize laureate and writer, Liu Xiaobo, has invited US, German medical experts to China for medical consultations.

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

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

"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," the White House deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters during an off camera news briefing.

"We continue to call on the Chinese authorities to grant him full parole and to release his wife from house arrest and provide them the protections and freedoms, such as freedom of movement and access to appropriate medical care consistent with Chinese constitution, legal system, and international commitments," Sanders said.

The state department said it was involved in helping to get a US doctor from MD Anderson Cancer Center to China to be able to take a look at him. "We would like for Mr Liu to be able to make his own health choices about where he would like to go," the state department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

"I understand that his wife, who had been under house arrest, was able to be with him at the hospital. We're happy about that, however, we continue to call on China to release him so that he can receive medical treatment wherever he desires. If it's in the United States, I think we would certainly welcome that," she said.

In an editorial, The Wall Street Journal said the government that imprisoned Liu for his beliefs and failed to ensure his health can't ask the world to trust that it will give him the best care.

"Liu's request for treatment in Germany offers him the chance to spend more time with his wife Liu Xia, who has been held under house arrest for seven years. China's greatest democracy advocate deserves to spend his
last days in freedom so the world can hear the final testimony to his struggle," The Wall Street Journal said.

Early this month, several top American lawakers moved a Congressional resolution urging the US president Donald Trump to help humanitarian transfer of Xiaobo.

Introduced by Senators Marco Rubio, Jeff Merkley, and Ted Cruz, the concurrent resolution urged the government of China to unconditionally release Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia and allow them to reunite with their family and friends and seek proper medical treatment.

The resolution also urges the Trump Administration to seek Dr Liu's immediate humanitarian transfer.

Updated Date: Jul 13, 2017 10:33 AM

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