Nobel-winning Chinese dissident given medical parole

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Nobel-winning Chinese dissident given medical parole

Jailed Chinese Nobel Peace laureate and dissident Liu Xiaobo has been released on medical parole after his May 23 diagnosis of late-stage liver cancer.

Sophie Richardson, China director at New York-based Human Rights Watch, said Beijing should be held to account for letting a peaceful critic like Liu fall gravely ill.

He has no special plans.

"Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China".

The news has shocked and angered supporters and human-rights campaigners, who questioned if the democracy advocate had received adequate care or whether the Chinese government had deliberately allowed him to wither in prison.

Liu was detained in 2008 for being one of the authors of Charter 08, a pro-democracy manifesto that calls for an end to one-party rule in China.

Shortly after Liu was awarded the prize, Liu Xia was placed under house arrest.

Liu, 61, is a renowned writer and activist who participated in the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square and in 2010 became China's first Nobel Peace Prize victor.

Chinese human-rights activist Hu Jia, a victor of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, told VOA that the long prison term handed down to Liu was a psychological and physical punishment akin to a politically motivated murder.

Chris Smith, co-chairman of the commission, said Liu's wife should also be allowed to come to the United States. Ties were only fully resumed last December. He is known for having negotiated the safe exit of thousands of student protesters on June 3, when the Chinese military cracked down on the protester movement.

The Chinese government will probably censor information about Mr. Liu's illness to ensure that it does not cause wider political ripples, said Liang Xiaojun, a human rights lawyer in Beijing.

Supporters have called for Liu to be allowed to seek treatment overseas, although President Xi Jinping's administration has taken a hard line on refusing permission for dissidents to travel.

They also demanded Liu be allowed to choose where he receives medical treatment and for authorities to carry out a "thorough investigation" into the circumstances that led to the deterioration of his health.

Through Mo Shaoping, one of Liu's lawyers, the South China Morning Post has learned that the famous dissident's brother, Liu Xiaoxuan, has said that his 61-year-old brother was diagnosed with "terminal liver cancer" back on May 23rd.

Amnesty International also called for Liu to be "unconditionally released".

Mo said Liu requested to be treated outside of prison, and that the request was approved. On Christmas Day 2009, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison for inciting subversion.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, responding to a question about Liu, said the issue was an internal affair.

He was arrested in 1991 for Tiananmen-related activity but released without charges.

"It is unconscionable that the government neglected Dr. Liu's health, despite repeated calls from the global community to ensure proper care". She has been in detention for seven years, although she has never been formally charged with a crime.

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