06/29/2017, 14.00
CHINA
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Human rights group says Liu Xiaobo’s treatment akin to torture, urges Beijing to let him choose where to get care

Group appeals to the international community to provide medical care to him and hospitality to his family. Denying medical treatment is a life-threatening form of torture. Since May, Liu’s wife has been asking the authorities to let her husband get treatment abroad. “His best chance is probably getting a liver transplant but we can’t see that happening in China,” says pro-democracy activist. Taiwan offers to welcome and treat the dissident. Beijing rejects foreign interference. “Liu Xiaobo is a Chinese citizen,” says a foreign ministry spokesman.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – “The Chinese government must free Liu Xiaobo unconditionally, allow him to reunite with his family, and ensure he immediately receives medical treatment by doctors, and in the location of his choice,” said the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) in a statement on Tuesday.

The CHRD also calls on the international community to offer the dissident and Nobel Prize laureate the best medical treatment available, welcoming his family if they decide to leave China.

Liu, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for "inciting subversion of state power" in 2009, was granted medical parole to treat a liver cancer.

The CHRD has accused Chinese authorities of medical negligence vis-à-vis the dissident. Depriving medical treatment to individuals in custody is a life-threatening form of torture.

In the past (2014), the United Nations had expressed concern over the health of Chinese activists and lawyers detained without medical care.

This form of abuse has already led to the death of a number of activists, like Cao Shunli, Chen Xiaoming, Duan Huimin, and Goshul Lobsang.

For this reason, the CHRD has urged the UN Committee against Torture and the special rapporteurs on torture and the right to health to request an independent investigation into the case of the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

However, a short video released by Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, appears to suggest that any kind of treatment for her husband’s terminal illness is futile

Liao Yiwu, a dissident based in Germany who has had direct contact with Liu Xia, said that she had been asking the authorities since May to allow Liu Xiaobo to go overseas for cancer treatment.

Mr Ye Du, a Guangzhou-based pro-democracy activist and a friend, said that Liu’s wife and younger brother visited him a week ago in the Shenyang hospital in Liaoning province.

The family told Ye that “Everyone is being closely monitored and they’ve been ordered to keep quiet by the authorities as of today”.

“His condition is very severe, and targeted therapy is unlikely to work for him,” Ye explained. “His best chance is probably getting a liver transplant but we can’t see that happening in China.”

On Tuesday, a spokesman for the US Embassy in Beijing said that Beijing should provide the couple with freedom of movement. Yesterday, Taiwan announced that it was prepared to welcome the dissident and provide him with medical treatment.

For its part, China has acknowledged problems in its criminal justice system in the past, but has also said that other countries should not use individual cases to interfere in China's internal affairs.

"Liu Xiaobo is a Chinese citizen. Why should there be discussions with other countries about the issue of a Chinese citizen who is serving his sentence?" Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters.

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