Liu Xiaobo's cancer beyond treatment, wife says

Shanghai: Nobel prize laureate Liu Xiaobo has been released from a Chinese prison on medical grounds, after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.

When the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded him the prize in 2010, they cited his "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China".

At a time when China wants to have a greater global 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.

But global human rights groups and supporters demanded that Liu be granted the best medical care in China or overseas and criticised his treatment.

"Presumably they didn't want him to die in the prison - they want him to die somewhere else", said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch, who described Liu's treatment as a "travesty".

Following the award, Mrs Liu was placed under house arrest, although she was never charged with a crime.

During the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Liu was represented by an empty chair.

According to the Nobel website, Liu has constantly denied the charges.

"The No. 1 Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University (in Shenyang) has formed a medical team comprised of eight nationally renowned oncologists and drawn up a treatment plan", it said. They normalized ties in December a year ago.

Liu is also known for his efforts to help negotiate the safe exit from Tiananmen Square of thousands of student demonstrators on the night of June 3-4, 1989 when the military bloodily suppressed six weeks of protests in the heart of Beijing.

"The Chinese government deliberately sentenced him to death over the past nine years of the sentence he has served due simply to his outspoken thinking". It is not immediately clear if Mr Liu was being allowed to have visitors.

Liu, a literary critic and essayist, was already in less than robust health when he was detained and later sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009, recalled Liu's former lawyer Mo Shaoping.

His lawyers and friends, however, said the 61-year-old's cancer has entered a terminal stage and criticised the authorities for not granting him a parole earlier. "He will still be tightly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party as his wife has been for so many years", Chen Guangcheng said.

With her communication with the outside world nearly completely cut, friends say she has been suffering severe depression and nervous breakdowns, especially after the authorities sentenced her brother to 11 years in prison over what supporters call trumped-up charges of business fraud.

"While Liu Xiaobo is on medical parole, it doesn't mean he is entirely free and he is still subject to various restrictions", Poon said. Liu Xiaobo has been released on medical parole after being diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer, his lawyer said Monday. "All other countries should respect China's judicial independence and sovereignty and should not use any so-called individual case to interfere in China's internal affairs", said Lu Kang, a spokesman, at a regular press briefing on Tuesday.

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