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China’s ailing Nobel laureate in ‘critical condition’

AFP-Jiji BEIJING (AFP-Jiji) — China’s cancer-stricken Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo is in a critical condition, his hospital said Monday, raising fears about his life after Western doctors said there was time to take him abroad.

The First Hospital of China Medical University in the northeastern city of Shenyang said Liu’s tumor has grown, his liver is bleeding and he has kidney problems.

The hospital said in a statement on its website that it is preparing to take the 61-year-old democracy advocate into emergency care if necessary, adding that “Liu’s family members have been informed of the above circumstances.”

But human rights activists decried the hospital statement as a delay tactic to prevent Liu from getting his wish of going abroad, where they say he would be free to speak out.

The Germany embassy, meanwhile, voiced “deep concern” about the leak of a video showing a gaunt-looking Liu in his hospital bed while the German and American doctors talk to his wife, Liu Xia, and Chinese physicians.

Decrying a breach of doctor-patient confidentiality, the embassy said in a statement that “certain authorities have evidently made audio and video surveillance recordings” of the weekend visit “against the expressed wishes of the German side.”

“It seems that security organs are steering the process, not medical experts. This behaviour undermines trust in the authorities dealing with Mr. Liu’s case, which is vital to ensure maximum success of his medical treatment.”

China has faced international pressure to grant its most prominent dissident complete freedom and let him leave the country since he was transferred from prison to the hospital after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer in late May.

The two foreign cancer specialists examined Liu on Saturday and said Sunday he could still safely leave the country, contradicting their Chinese counterparts.

But U.S. oncology expert Joseph Herman from the University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Center and German doctor Markus Buchler of Heidelberg University warned in a statement that “the medical evacuation would have to take place as quickly as possible.”

The video shows one of the foreigners, apparently Buchler, telling Liu Xia that the Chinese doctors had made a “very nice gesture” by inviting them to help and that they “are very committed to the treatment of ... your husband.”

Liu moves his head during the conversation while the American doctor strokes his wife’s back.

Human rights activists said the hospital’s latest statement shows the government is dragging its feet.

Amnesty International’s China researcher Patrick Poon said the government wants to avoid any embarrassments ahead of a key Communist Party congress later this year. The meeting is expected to boost President Xi Jinping’s grip on power.Speech

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