US, German doctors say Liu Xiaobo can leave China for cancer care | News | DW | 09.07.2017
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US, German doctors say Liu Xiaobo can leave China for cancer care

US and German doctors say Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo could safely travel abroad for cancer treatment if authorities would only permit him to. That contradicts the assertions of Chinese doctors.

German and US doctors say Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo can safely travel abroad for treatment for metastasized late-stage liver cancer. On Saturday, the First Hospital of China Medical University had claimed that travel would prove "unsafe" for Liu, whose condition has deteriorated.

"While a degree of risk always exists in the movement of any patient, both physicians believe Mr. Liu can be safely transported with appropriate medical evacuation care and support," oncologist Joseph Herman, of the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, and Markus Buchler, a doctor at Germany's Heidelberg University, said in a joint statement. "However, the medical evacuation would have to take place as quickly as possible."

Both of their institutions agreed to treat Liu. He has reportedly expressed a preference for Germany.

Doctors have switched Liu to mainly palliative care as cancer drugs could overwhelm his liver. "Additional options may exist, including interventional procedures and radiotherapy," Herman and Buchler said.

'Chinese authorities lied'

Officials have rejected requests from Liu and his family to allow him to travel overseas for treatment, but relented to international outcry to allow the foreign doctors to visit him. China has come under fire from human rights groups for its treatment of the activist and for waiting until he became terminally ill to release him from prison over a month ago. Rights activists and dissidents accuse the government of stalling and falsely invoking Liu's illness to avoid allowing him to speak freely overseas.

"The statement by the two experts shows that the Chinese authorities lied when the hospital released the statement yesterday," Amnesty International China researcher Patrick Poon said on Sunday. "The Chinese government should face it instead of covering up and faking news any more. They should respect Liu Xiaobo's wish to leave the country before it's too late."

In 2009, authorities sentenced Liu to 11 years in prison for subverting state power by advocating sweeping political reforms that would end China's one-party rule in the Charter 08 petition, which he co-wrote. He remains under strict supervision at the hospital.

A group of Liu's supporters said the medical center had become the authorities' "mouthpiece" and participated in "helping the government to rationalize the effective imprisonment of Liu Xiaobo." Authorities have also kept Liu's wife, Xia, under house arrest.

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