Dissident Liu Xiaobo leaves prison suffering from terminal liver cancer

He has been allowed treatment outside the prison, but he will not seek medical treatment abroad. In 2009, he was sentenced to 11 years for "inciting subversion of state power" after he co-authored Charter 08. Whilst in prison, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – Jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, one of China’s most important icons of democracy, has been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and has been allowed to leave the prison for treatment.

In 2009, Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison for "inciting subversion of state power" for co-writing and promoting Charter 08, a manifesto calling on the Chinese Communist Party to undertake social and political reforms.

News about the state of his health was confirmed today by his lawyer, Mo Shaoping, who also said that Liu was given permission to be treated outside the prison.

The diagnosis of cancer came on 23 May and Liu Xiaobo is now at a Shenyang Hospital (Liaoning). Through Mo, he said he was not going to seek medical treatment abroad.

Liu Xiaobo has been one of China’s leading figures in the past 30 years. Before the Tiananmen massacre he sought to open a dialogue between the military and the students on the square.

He was arrested and jailed for three years shortly after the massacre. After a period of studies abroad, he returned and continued working in the cultural domain and with China’s dissidents.

Charter 08, which he co-authored, was signed by over 300 figures in the fields of art, culture and labour.

It is one of the most lucid analyses of China’s situation, a country still unable to take a step towards modernity through political reforms, religious freedom, creativity of its people, elections and a division of state powers.

In 2010, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which he did not receive in person because he was in jail. Beijing threatened relatives, friends, and dissidents from picking up the award on Liu’s behalf.

The Nobel Academy left an empty chair with the picture of the great dissident.