Date
21 July 2017
Friends and supporters hope Liu Xiaobo and his wife will be allowed to get medical treatment abroad, but the chances of that happening seem slim at the moment. Photo: Reuters
Friends and supporters hope Liu Xiaobo and his wife will be allowed to get medical treatment abroad, but the chances of that happening seem slim at the moment. Photo: Reuters

Liu Xiaobo, wife not allowed to get treatment abroad: friends

Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is on medical parole, and his wife have been denied permission by Beijing to get medical treatment for their respective illnesses overseas, friends said.

He Pin, founder of New York-based Ming Jing Media, on Wednesday unveiled a letter by the civil rights activist’s wife Liu Xia asking authorities that she and her husband be allowed to go overseas for medical treatment, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Some foreign governments and agencies are said to be urging Beijing to allow Liu Xiaobo, who was diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer last month, to leave for medical treatment abroad along with his wife.

Liu Xia, who is suffering from depression, said in the letter that her husband was concerned about her condition and willing to go with her, adding that the German government was ready to welcome them. 

He Pin said the letter proves Liu Xiaobo has changed his mind about never wanting to leave China, but added that Liu Xia’s request has been denied.

One of the couple’s friends living in Germany, Liao Yi-wu, also unveiled a letter written by Liu Xia on Wednesday, showing Liu was willing to go overseas with his wife.

Liu, 61, a leader in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 and the 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, while his wife has been under house arrest since then.

While calls for Beijing to allow Liu to get treatment overseas have been mounting, He said Beijing will not agree to let Liu and his wife leave the country.

Terry Edward Branstad, the new US ambassador to China, told media in Beijing on Wednesday that the US hopes to see the couple treated in another country and is willing to do everything to help. Brandstad described the whole situation as very serious.

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said Liu is welcome to come over and get treatment by the island’s experts on liver diseases.

Meanwhile, a video clip posted on YouTube late Wednesday night showed Liu living a “normal” life in prison, doing exercises, receiving physical examinations and even saying he appreciated the care provided by the jail authorities, Apple Daily reported.

Observers wondered about the timing of the release of the footage.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Civil Human Rights Front said it will stage a rally outside the Telecom House in Wan Chai on Thursday night to demand that Liu and his wife be allowed to travel overseas.

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TL/BN/CG

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