Monday, 26 June 2017

Liu Xiaobo on Medical Parole

Devastating news today that Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo has terminal cancer
There was breaking news this afternoon that Nobel Peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo was being released on medical parole -- because he has terminal liver cancer.

It's bitter sweet to hear the 61-year-old is now being treated in hospital in Shenyang in Liaoning province after he was diagnosed with late stage cancer on May 23, according to one of his lawyers, Shang Baojun, citing Liu's brother.

"It seems to be very serious, very serious," Shang said. "If it was an early stage of cancer, then it would be easier to treat. But at this late stage, the treatment seems much more difficult."

The news of Liu's illness renewed calls for the academic to be released on compassionate grounds.

During the 2010 Nobel ceremony his chair was empty
"At a time when China wants to have a greater international role, it is only fitting that it should show humanity and compassion towards a man who has never committed any violent crime, but has dedicated his life to literature and free expression," PEN Hong Kong, the literature and free speech advocacy group said on its Facebook page.

Liu had previously served as president of Independent Chinese PEN, a sister organization of PEN Hong Kong.

Amnesty International's China researcher Patrick Poon said Beijing should ensure that Liu gets good medical care and access to family members, in particular his wife.

"The authorities must also stop their shameful and illegal house arrest of Liu Xiaobo's wife, Liu Xia," Poon said, "and ensure that she is able to receive visitors, travel freely and visit Liu Xiaobo."

According to friends of Liu Xia, she is worn out from isolation from house arrest, and is depressed and has a heart condition.

There is hope that Liu Xia is with her husband...
Another of Liu's lawyers Mo Shaoping said "in principle" Liu could receive visits from family members, but didn't know if his wife was with him.

Friends who know him were shocked to find out that the man they knew was so energetic before and now is seriously ill.

Apparently Liu is getting treatment from top cancer doctors now, but it's too little too late. With late stage cancer all they can do is try to ease his pain as much as possible.

This makes his imprisonment even more outrageous and cruel. He is so highly respected outside of China for his dedication to making his home country better by pushing for political liberalization with Charter 08 and yet he is condemned by Beijing and sent to prison for 11 years for "inciting subversion of state power".

At this point we can only hope his family, in particular his wife Liu Xia can finally see him without restrictions. He should at least be able to live his last days in dignity, though he probably conducted himself that way in prison too.

He said it best in his statement from his 2009 trial, titled: I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement that was read out as his Nobel lecture.

"Hatred can rot away at a person's intelligence and conscience," he wrote. "Enemy mentality will poison the spirit of a nation, incite cruel mortal struggles, destroy a society's tolerance and humanity, and hinder a nation's progress toward freedom and democracy. That is why I hope to be able to transcend my personal experiences as I look upon our nation's development and social change, to counter the regime's hostility with utmost good will, and to dispel hatred with love."

Liu Xiaobo, we will not forget you.

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