Ailing Chinese dissident Liu critically ill, breathing failing

Hospital: Ailing China Nobel laureate in critical condition

― Reuters picBEIJING, July 12 ― The hospital treating China's Nobel Peace Prize winning dissident Liu Xiaobo said today he is critically ill and that his ability to breath is failing.

Liu was granted medical parole last month after being diagnosed with advanced liver cancer at the end of May.

Geng reiterated that he hoped "relevant countries can respect the judicial sovereignty of China and not interfere in China's internal affairs under the pretext of an individual case".

"We continue to call on China to release him so that he can receive medical treatment wherever he desires".

Mr Liu was convicted in 2009 of inciting subversion for his role in the "Charter 08" movement calling for political reform. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a year later while in prison.

A German doctor visited Liu at a hospital on Saturday, along with an American colleague.

Chinese leaders face two unpalatable choices, analysts say.

"If there's no Liu Xiaobo we can't unite the whole world to speak out".

"It's also legitimate to question if the authorities are releasing the information about his worsening health as an attempt to delay and justify not allowing Liu Xiaobo to leave the country", Poon said.

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei says China's imprisonment of ailing Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo is "a shame for the Chinese government and a shame for the worldwide community".

In Hong Kong, about 50 protesters sat outside the Beijing representative office surrounded by placards demanding Liu's release.

Hu Jia, a Beijing-based activist, said supporters should still fight to help Liu leave: "Even if he must die on the plane that has come to pick him up, then he would have still left his cage".

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

Some of Liu's friends said they were contacted by police on Tuesday.

The last time a political prisoner was granted medical parole and allowed to leave the country for treatment overseas was in 2005, when authorities released Rebiya Kadeer, a prominent businesswoman and activist for her Uighur ethnic minority group, according to the San Francisco-based Dui Hua Foundation, which has helped to arrange the release of a series of political prisoners in China.

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.

"The economy is strong, the military is rising — does China still care about global political opinion?" said Zhang Lifan, a liberal political commentator in Beijing.

Liu's family has been notified of his condition and has refused intubation for him, according to a statement from the First Hospital of China Medical University in Shenyang.

"The national experts group's view is that the patient is in critical condition", the statement said.

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

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

But a family friend, Hu Jia, told dpa that they were holding on to the hope that he can be transferred overseas for treatment - a desire that has also been expressed by various Western governments and organizations. "From learning of the approval for the Lius to travel, we could have the medevac there in 48 hours".

In one of the video clips, a German cancer specialist is seen praising the Chinese medical team for their efforts.

The German embassy in Beijing issued a statement Monday criticizing China, noting that "security organs are steering the process, not medical experts".

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