China Releases Renowned Dissident And Nobel Peace Prize Winner With Terminal Cancer

China's only Nobel Peace Prize victor, pro-democracy activist Liu Xiaobo, was temporarily released from jail to be treated for late-stage liver cancer, a break from Beijing's recent pattern of harshly cracking down on domestic dissent.

Liu has been involved in pro-democracy movements since the June Fourth Incident, as China calls the bloody Tiananmen Square student protests of 1989, for which an official death toll has never been released.

"The worldwide community can see that China has no human rights when even Nobel prize winners have been treated like this", Beijing-based lawyer Yu Wensheng said, adding that when Liu dies it will be "a heavy blow" for China's human rights movement.

He has no special plans.

The Nobel committee's citation paid tribute to "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China".

At the time, the United States government called on China to release the political activist, first arrested two decades earlier for his part in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

His most recent conviction, on Christmas Day 2009, stemmed from his co-authorship of Charter 08, a manifesto calling for political reform and human rights in China.

In 2010, Liu was represented by an empty chair during the award ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize, which made him China's most famous political prisoner.

The US embassy in Beijing joined a growing chorus of Chinese human rights lawyers and activists demanding Liu's unconditional release amid concerns about his wellbeing. The paper also cites another one of Liu's lawyers, Shang Baojun, stating that family members had said that Liu recently looked "seriously" ill. Relations were not normalized until last December.


No comment is likely to come from Liu's wife, Liu Xia, who remains under house arrest in Beijing, or from the Chinese government itself.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International called on the authorities to ensure Liu's family can visit him.

Asked whether China would consider allowing Liu Xiaobo to go overseas for treatment, Lu said: "All other countries should respect China's judicial independence and sovereignty, and should not use any so-called individual case to interfere in China's internal affairs".

On Monday, Liu's lawyer told Sputnik that the dissident was still under control of the Chinese government, and that his medical parole was just another form of imprisonment.

"It is unconscionable that the government neglected Dr. Liu's health, despite repeated calls from the worldwide community to ensure proper care". He had been serving an 11-year prison sentence for "inciting subversion of state power" in nearby Jinzhou.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, responding to a question about Liu, said the issue was an internal affair.

"While Liu Xiaobo is on medical parole, it doesn't mean he is entirely free and he is still subject to various restrictions", Poon said.

An emotional Liu says in the 10-second video circulated on Twitter: "No surgery". According to a rights group, she was diagnosed with depression years after her detention and suffered a heart attack in 2014.

Liu was arrested immediately after the crackdown on Tiananmen, however he was released without any charge in early 1991.


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