US and German doctors are set to visit China’s cancer-stricken Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo this weekend, sources familiar with Liu’s case told AFP, as the democracy advocate’s health has deteriorated.
Three sources said at least two doctors are due to visit the 61-year-old activist in the northeastern city of Shenyang following an invitation from the hospital treating Liu, who is under medical parole from prison.
The sources did not provide more details, while the US and German embassies refused to confirm whether any foreign doctors would pay a visit this weekend.
“We are aware of reports that the medical condition of jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate and writer Liu Xiaobo is rapidly deteriorating,” US embassy spokeswoman Mary Beth Polley said.
“We understand that the Chinese hospital treating Liu has invited US and German medical experts to China for consultations,” she said.
“We have asked that China grant these doctors unhindered access to Liu,” Polley said, reiterating US calls for China to grant Liu full parole.
China has faced international pressure to let Liu travel abroad to get treatment since he was transferred from prison to a hospital in June after he was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.
Friends of Liu fear that he is near death as Shenyang’s China Medical University No 1 Hospital revealed on Thursday that his liver function had deteriorated.
A friend of Liu’s, who asked to remain anonymous due to the case’s sensitivity, told AFP that the laureate’s brother is set to visit him in hospital for the first time on Saturday.
Beijing has come under fire from human rights groups over its treatment of the activist and for waiting until he became so ill to take him out of prison, but authorities insist he has been afforded top medical care from renowned doctors.
The hospital released details about his treatment this week, disclosing that doctors decided to stop giving him the cancer drug Sorafenib and Chinese medicine to avoid further harming his liver.
But the hospital also published on its website on Friday a letter from Liu’s brother-in-law in which he insists that overall medical treatment had not stopped.
“The drugs used for him were adjusted due to the severity of his illness and the rapid development of the tumour,” says the letter signed by Liu Hui, brother of the ailing activist’s wife, Liu Xia.
Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison in December 2009 for “subversion” after calling for democratic reform. At the Nobel ceremony in Oslo in 2010, an empty chair represented Liu.
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