Liu Xiaobo near death
Dissident Liu Xiaobo 刘晓波, who has been out on medical parole since June 26 from his 11-year prison sentence to have his terminal liver cancer treated, is “in septic shock and his organ functions continue to fail,” according to a statement (in Chinese) signed by Liu’s family members and released by the hospital where Liu is being held. The Guardian notes that many observers see this statement as unreliable, as some argue it is “designed to bolster Beijing’s assertion that Liu is unfit to leave China rather than accurately convey the state of his health.” Just several days ago, two doctors from the U.S. and Germany visited Liu and contradicted Chinese government statements that he was too sick to travel.
What now for Liu?
- The New York Times solemnly reported (paywall) that “Mr. Liu could become the first Nobel laureate to die in state custody since Carl von Ossietzky, the German pacifist and foe of Nazism who died under guard in 1938.”
- International leaders, observers, and media continue to call for Liu to receive medical treatment abroad. Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan, chimed in on Twitter to “call on #Beijing to free #LiuXiaobo & allow him to seek treatment wherever he wishes. #Taiwan willing to provide any medical assistance.”
- As many sadly noted, still missing from international calls for Liu’s release is any statement from the U.S. president or his government.
- James Palmer writes in Foreign Policy, “The Chinese think Liu Xiaobo was asking for it,” because the government has set up a social context in which “blaming the victim is the easiest way for people to sleep at night in a country where the government could crush you at any moment.”