The Chinese hospital treating sick Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo said on Saturday that his cancer is in the final stages and that a German and U.S. doctor had seen him and offered “full approval” of their treatment of him.
BEIJING: The Chinese hospital treating Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo said on Saturday his cancer was in the final stages and that a German and U.S. doctor had seen him and offered “full approval” of their treatment, though asked for him to be moved.
Liu, 61, was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power” after he helped write a petition known as “Charter 08” calling for sweeping political reforms.
He was recently moved from jail to a hospital in China’s northeastern city of Shenyang to be treated for late-stage liver cancer and the hospital said it had invited doctors from the United States and Germany to help with Liu’s treatment.
In a short statement, the hospital said Joseph M. Herman of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in the United States and Markus W Büchler of Germany’s University of Heidelberg had seen Liu on Saturday, a consultation also attended by the Chinese experts treating him.
The team listened to his medical history, heard a report on his treatment, visited Liu and met his relatives and then discussed his illness, the hospital said.
“The U.S. and Germany experts fully approved of the treatment by the national experts group and what they had done,” it said.
The patient has received a high level of care, but he has late-stage liver cancer which has spread and is in its final stages, the hospital said, adding it is looking at medical options to raise his chances of survival.
The hospital’s website posted four pictures of the consultation by the U.S. and German doctors, one of which showed both men bending over to talk to Liu as he lay in his sick bed. He gestured back to them with his left hand.
Another picture showed one of the foreign doctors examining what appeared to be x-rays. The pictures did not appear to show any of Liu’s family members.
A separate hospital statement cited both foreign doctors as saying they hoped Liu could be treated abroad. A Chinese doctor, who it did not identify, responded that moving him would not be safe and asked what better treatment could be offered.
“The U.S. and German experts answered: ‘We also do not have a better way, you are already doing very well’,” the statement said.
A source familiar with the situation confirmed the two foreign doctors had examined Liu and met family members at the hospital, but added it was not clear how long they would remain in Shenyang.
Neither the U.S. nor the German doctor immediately responded to emailed requests for comment from Reuters on their visit with Liu. The hospital did not answer telephone calls seeking comment on Saturday evening.
Calls have grown from rights groups, international bodies and western governments for China to allow Liu to travel with his wife Liu Xia to be treated overseas.
Diplomatic sources in Beijing say China has been nervous that the concerns over Liu could overshadow President Xi Jinping’s appearance at a summit of the Group of 20 nations in Hamburg, Germany, which ends later on Saturday.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Nathalie Thomas; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Janet Lawrence)