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China gives ‘medical parole’ to Nobel-winning Chinese activist who has cancer

Reports said Liu was diagnosed with cancer about a month ago and is currently being treated at a hospital in Liaoning province in northeast China.

world Updated: Jun 26, 2017 18:47 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Liu Xiaobo,Nobel-winning Chinese activist,Chinese activist has cancer
A police officer stands guard beside a picture of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo outside the Chinese government liaison office in Hong Kong. (AP File)

China has given ‘medical parole’ to Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo from prison after the jailed activist was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, his lawyer said on Monday.

Liu, 61, was charged with subversion and jailed in 2009 after he called for greater democracy and political freedom in China.

A key figure in the Tiananmen protests of 1989, Liu won the Nobel peace prize in 2010. The Chinese government did not allow him to attend the event and it strained relations between Beijing and Oslo.

The state media blocked out any news on Liu and search on social media yielded zero results.

When asked about Liu’s release at the regular foreign ministry briefing on Monday, spokesperson Geng Shuang said he had no information about it.

His Wife, Liu Xia has been kept under house arrest for nearly seven years.

Reports said Liu was diagnosed with cancer about a month ago and is currently being treated at a hospital in Liaoning province in northeast China.

Rights body Amnesty International said China should now ensure that Liu receives adequate medical care and access to family.

“Adding injury to insult, Liu Xiaobo has been diagnosed with a grave illness in prison, where he should never have been put in the first place,” William Nee, China Researcher at Amnesty International, told HT.

“The Chinese authorities should immediately ensure that Liu Xiaobo receives adequate medical care, effective access to his family and that he and all others imprisoned solely for exercising their human rights are immediately and unconditionally released,” Nee said.

“The authorities must also stop their shameful and illegal house arrest of Liu Xiaobo’s wife, Liu Xia, and ensure that she is able to receive visitors, travel freely and visit Liu Xiaobo,” he added.

The Chinese foreign ministry had reacted furiously when Liu won the Nobel prize in 2010

In 2012, when Chinese author Mo Yan won the Nobel prize for literature, the Chinese government had lashed out at Norway for giving the peace prize to Liu two years earlier.

“Two years ago, the Norwegian Nobel committee made a decision which is a serious violation of China’s internal affairs and its judicial sovereignty,” Hong Lei, then the foreign ministry spokesperson, had said.

Last year, a group of 120 authors including Salman Rushdie had written an open letter to President Xi Jinping, urging the release of Liu and other jailed activists.

“Where is the voice of publisher Gui Minhai, who disappeared from his holiday home in Thailand and is now being held incommunicado? Where is the voice of Nobel Peace Laureate and former president of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre (a literary and rights organisation), Liu Xiaobo serving an 11-year prison sentence and the voice of his wife, the poet Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest for over six years without even having been accused of a crime,” said the letter.

First Published: Jun 26, 2017 17:22 IST