Hospital says Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo’s cancer is in final stages as German, US doctors visit

A protester holds a candle next to a portrait of Chinese Nobel rights activist Liu Xiaobo demanding his release in Hong Kong, China on June 29, 2017.
A protester holds a candle next to a portrait of Chinese Nobel rights activist Liu Xiaobo demanding his release in Hong Kong, China on June 29, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS, AFP) – The Chinese hospital treating the ailing Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo said on Saturday (July 8) that his cancer is in the final stages and that a German and US  doctor had seen him and offered “full approval” of their treatment of him. 

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 China’s north-eastern city of Shenyang to be treated for late-stage liver cancer and the hospital said it had invited doctors from the United States and Germany to help with Liu’s treatment.

In a short statement, the hospital said that Joseph M. Herman of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Centre  in the US and Markus W Büchler of Germany’s University of Heidelberg had seen Liu on Saturday afternoon, a consultation also attended by the Chinese experts treating him.

Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox

The team listened to his medical history, heard a report on his treatment, visited Liu and met his relatives and then discussed his illness, the hospital said. 

“The US and Germany experts fully approved of the treatment by the national experts group and what they had done,” it added.

The patient has received a high level of care, but he has late-stage liver cancer which has spread and is in its final stages, the hospital said, adding it is looking at medical options to raise his chances of survival.

The hospital also said that the Chinese doctors treating Liu warned the US and German medical experts on Saturday that he is too sick to travel. “The process of transferring the patient is unsafe", doctors told the experts after they asked about the possibility of treating the laureate overseas, the statement said. 

Calls have grown from rights groups, international bodies and western governments for China to allow Liu to travel with his wife Liu Xia to be treated overseas.

Diplomatic sources in Beijing say China has been nervous that the concerns over Liu could overshadow President Xi Jinping’s appearance at a summit of the Group of 20 nations in Hamburg, Germany, which ends on Saturday.