Nobel Peace Prize victor Liu Xiaobo in life-threatening condition, says hospital

Liu Xiaobo Chinese Activist and Political Prisoner Dies

The First Hospital of China Medical University, in the northeastern city of Shenyang, said Liu's family declined to have him put on artificial ventilation, which was necessary "to maintain life". According to the hospital, Liu is suffering from "infectious shock" and "spontaneous peritonitis" as fluids and inflammation build up in his abdomen.

U.S. and German cancer experts visited Liu last weekend and determined that he was strong enough to be medically evacuated, but the hospital has issued pessimistic medical updates since then. On Monday the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel asked Beijing for a "signal of humanity for Liu Xiaobo and his family".

The renowned dissident and intellectual was hospitalised amid strong security measures around the beginning of June after he was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer following nearly nine years in prison.

Liu was convicted in 2009 of inciting subversion for his role in the "Charter 08" movement calling for political reform.

Human Rights Watch's China director Sophie Richardson called the leak "grotesque propaganda".

Two doctors from the United States and Germany visited Liu last weekend at the Shenyang hospital, and declared him well enough to travel.

But the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said one of Liu's relatives had told them Liu was conscious and in a better condition after receiving dialysis. "This is a political charade", the Global Times reported in an editorial on Tuesday. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a year later while in prison.

In 2010, while in prison, Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China" - prompting an infuriated Beijing to place his wife under house arrest and freeze diplomatic ties with Norway, where the prize victor is chosen.

China has accused other countries of politicising the writer's case and interfering in China's internal affairs.

The doctors added that both their institutions have agreed and are prepared to accept Liu for cancer treatment.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen said on Twitter that the self-ruled island that China claims as its own, was closely following reports that Liu was in critical condition.

Amnesty International's China researcher Patrick Poon voiced fears that Liu will die in custody.

"We do not know how reliable these accounts are, or if they mean Liu Xiaobo can not travel", one family friend told Reuters, declining to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation. "From learning of the approval for the Lius to travel, we could have the medevac there in 48 hours".

But a video of their visit released earlier this week showed the visiting doctors praising their Chinese counterparts.

The German Embassy in Beijing expressed "deep concern" that the recording was leaked to Chinese state media outlets against the wishes of the German side.

"We understand that the Chinese hospital treating Liu has invited United States and German medical experts to China for consultations", she said.

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