China: Liu must be released immediately

Faith Castro
June 27, 2017

Liu, 61, is now being treated at a hospital in Liaoning's provincial capital Shenyang, his lawyer told RFA, following a diagnosis of late-stage liver cancer little more than a month ago.

"According to his lawyer, Liu was diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer while in prison last month", NPR's Rob Schmitz reports from Hong Kong.

Mo added that the jailed dissident had no plans to seek medical treatment overseas. She suffered a heart attack in 2014, when she was diagnosed with depression after years of detention, a rights group said at the time.

Hundreds of Chinese lawyers, activists and friends signed a petition calling on authorities to give Liu "complete freedom" and allow his wife to "have contact with the outside world".

Liu, 61, who had been imprisoned in north-east China, was found in late May to have advanced liver cancer and was hospitalised soon after, it emerged on Monday. The dissident's legal team said she has not been heard from for some time.

Lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan posted on social media that Liu was being treated in a hospital in Shenyang, Liaoning province. "Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China".

It also called on China to show greater tolerance toward Chinese people who use peaceful means to call for political reform and democratic development, instead of violating their basic human rights with threats of indiscriminate lawsuits and heavy sentences.

A text by Liu entitled "I have no enemies - my final statement" was read during the Nobel ceremony.

Chinese human-rights activist Hu Jia, a victor of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, told VOA that the long prison term handed down to Liu was a psychological and physical punishment akin to a politically motivated murder.

Liu was a leading member of the Independent China PEN Centre, a grouping of Chinese writers. His terminal liver cancer means he is no threat to the regime. This is a kind of murder.

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Why has he been granted medical parole?

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"According to Chinese law, medical parole should be granted to prisoners who are severely ill".

"It's favoring Chinese communists to compare them with the Nazis", an anonymous netizen responded to Gao.

Liu was rearrested and served three years in a labour camp from 1996-1999 for seeking the release of those jailed in the Tiananmen protests and for opposing the government's verdict that they amounted to a counter-revolutionary rebellion. The Chinese government, which regards him as a criminal, was infuriated by the award.

Liu participated in the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations on Tiananmen Square, and wrote extensively about them after China's military was called in to crush them, the Journal noted. Liu urged protesting students to leave rather than face the army.

He was arrested immediately after the crackdown and released without charge in early 1991.

"We take this opportunity to express our reaffirmation of the fact that the Chinese government deliberately sentenced him to death over the past nine years of the sentence he has served due simply to his outspoken thinking", said Wu'er Kaixi and Wang Dan in a statement.

Some said Liu's treatment heightened concerns over lesser-known activists still languishing in prison.

His mild manners and gentle voice belie his conviction for his cause - improving human rights in China.

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