Date
21 September 2017
Demonstrators call for the release of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo. Liu has been released from prison and placed on medical parole after he was diagnosed with late-stage cancer. Photo:Reuters
Demonstrators call for the release of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo. Liu has been released from prison and placed on medical parole after he was diagnosed with late-stage cancer. Photo:Reuters

Calls mount for Beijing to unconditionally release Liu Xiaobo

Calls are growing from the international community urging China to release civil rights activist Liu Xiaobo after he was placed on medical parole following a cancer diagnosis.

In a petition lodged on Tuesday, pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong and hundreds of Chinese human rights activists urged Beijing to unconditionally release Liu and allow him to choose how he should be treated for his illness and where.

Liu, 61, was released from prison after being diagnosed with late-stage cancer. He is receiving treatment at a hospital in the northeastern city of Shenyang, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The petition, which had collected more than 400 signatures by Wednesday morning, said Liu has been in serious condition and his cancer has spread to different parts of his body.

It urged Beijing to allow Liu to be visited by his family and friends and receive humanitarian assistance. Liu is being hospitalized at the First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University in Shenyang.

The petitioners want Beijing to release Liu’s personal health records during his imprisonment and thoroughly investigate what caused the deterioration of his health, and who should be held accountable for making Liu miss the best time for treatment.

Liu, a leader in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 and a 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, was jailed for 11 years in 2009 on subversion charges for co-writing a manifesto aimed at bringing about a more democratic system in China.

In a statement on Monday, the US Department of State said China should not only release Liu but also undo the house arrest put on his wife, Liu Xia.

It said the authorities should give them protection and freedom to move freely and, in the case of Liu, to choose his treatment, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Taiwan’s presidential office said it is highly concerned about Liu’s situation and hopes he can get proper medical care as soon as possible.

Holding signs and yellow umbrellas, about 20 members from several pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong, including the League of Social Democrats and Demosistō, marched to Beijing’s Liaison Office in Sai Wan on Tuesday to protest China’s suppression of free speech and the persecution of Liu.

Their petition was not accepted.

Wang Dan, one of the prominent student leaders in the 1989 Tiananmen protests, said he is willing to forsake his plan to settle in the US if Liu can be sent to Taiwan to receive treatment.

Chinese dissident Hu Jia was quoted by Apple Daily as saying Liu was a victim of “passive political murder”, meaning Beijing had intentionally kept Liu from knowing the seriousness of his illness until it was too late to do anything about it.

Meanwhile, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned that other governments have no right to interfere in China’s internal affairs.

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TL/YH/RT/RA

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