The Chinese hospital treating sick dissident Liu Xiaobo offered a bleak prognosis on Monday, saying he is seriously ill with an increasingly swollen stomach, partial intestinal obstruction and falling blood pressure. Liu, 61, was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power” after he helped write a petition known as “Charter 08” calling for sweeping political reforms. He was recently moved from jail to a hospital in the northeastern city of Shenyang to be treated for late-stage liver cancer. The hospital said in a short statement Liu was also suffering from kidney problems, and that in his condition, it was not appropriate to treat him with radiotherapy. His family had been informed, it said.
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Questions have arisen over the possibility of Liu getting treatment abroad, and if he wanted to go, and was fit enough to go, if authorities would let him leave. A German and U.S. doctor who visited Liu said on Sunday he could be moved abroad safely for treatment and he wanted to go to either Germany or the United States, but any move needed to happen soon. They added that “additional options” may exist to treat him, including radiotherapy. Calls have grown from rights groups and Western governments for China to allow Liu to travel with his wife, Liu Xia, to be treated overseas.
Asked on Monday at a daily news briefing whether China would allow Liu to go abroad for treatment, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said: “China hopes relevant countries will respect China’s sovereignty and will not use individual cases to interfere with China’s internal affairs.”