Dharamshala — The President of Central Tibetan Administration Dr Lobsang Sangay joined a growing chorus of Chinese human rights lawyers and activists demanding Liu Xiaobo's unconditional release amid concerns about his well being.
With three years left to serve in his 11-year sentence, the 61-year-old democracy campaigner was granted medical parole days after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer on May 23, his lawyer Mo Shaoping said.
President Dr Sangay has expressed concern over the deteriorating health of imprisoned Chinese Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo who has been diagnosed with late-stage cancer. calls are growing for him to be allowed to seek medical help outside China.
"I am saddened to learn of Chinese Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo's tragic cancer diagnosis, and at the same time relieved to learn of his release on medical parole," Dr Sangay said.
"I urge the Chinese government to grant Liu Xiaobo and his family immediate permission on humanitarian grounds to travel abroad for medical treatment. I also join the global call and prayers for his recovery and sincerely hope that he gets to spend as much quality time as possible with his family," he added.
"On a positive note, I am inspired by the growing number of true democrats like Liu Xiaobo in China. The tide of democracy is gradually touching the shores of China and I am optimistic that Liu Xiaobo's vision of a truly democratic China will be realised soon in the near future," President Sangay expressed.
President Dr Lobsang Sangay has been a staunch advocate for the release of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo since his arrest. He has consistently mentioned the case of Liu Xiaobo and urged the Chinese government for his swift release since 2013 in the official statements that he made on the anniversary marking the conferment of Nobel Peace prize on His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Besides President Dr Sangay, diplomats from the across the world including the US, Germany and the European Union have called upon China for Liu Xiaobo to be allowed to travel abroad for medical treatment. At least 154 Nobel laureates across the six Nobel disciplines have also urged Chinese President Xi Jinping in an open letter to allow Nobel peace prize laureate Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia to travel to the United States for medical treatment.
"The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo has been diagnosed with liver cancer. His wife, Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest for almost seven years, is also ill. They have the wish to leave the country so they can receive medical care. Time is running out. We urge the Chinese government on humanitarian grounds to grant Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia's wish to travel to the United States for medical treatment," they have written in the letter.
The US House of Representatives also passed a resolution – introduced by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Chris Smith – on 29 June calling on China to unconditionally release Liu Xiaobo and allow him to freely meet with family and seek medical treatment abroad, if necessary.
154 Nobel laureates across the six Nobel disciplines have urged Chinese president Xi Jinping to allow Nobel peace prize laureate Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia to travel to the united states for medical treatment.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in a statement said it regrets that it took a terminal cancer diagnosis for the Chinese government to move Liu Xiaobo to hospital. "The free speech activist, who was awarded the RSF Press Freedom Prize in 2004 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, is still not free although he was officially granted medical parole and his wife, Liu Xia, remains under house arrest. "
It is regrettable that it was only after such a grave diagnosis that he could be moved to hospital, and he is still not free" RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. "Everything must now be done to ensure that Liu, who embodies resistance to oppression and the fight for free speech in China, can be treated properly and leave the country if he so wishes."
Germany urged China to allow terminally ill Nobel laureate Liu to quickly get the medical help he needs, after friends of the Chinese activist said he wanted to be treated abroad. On the eve of a state visit to Berlin by Chinese President Xi Jinping, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert did not confirm reception of the letter. But he said the German government "hopes that (Liu) will get all the medical support he needs". "We have taken note of reports on requests for Mr Liu and his wife to travel abroad," Seibert said, adding: "The government believes that in such a difficult situation, a humanitarian solution for Liu Xiaobo should be the highest priority."
Officials in the US have urged Donald Trump to push for his transfer and the state department is "working to gather more information" on his legal and medical condition."We call on the Chinese authorities to not only release Mr Liu but also to allow his wife, Ms Liu Xia, out of house arrest," said Mary Beth Polley, a spokeswoman for the US embassy in Beijing.
The writers' campaign group PEN International released a statement saying it stands "in continued solidarity" with Liu Xiaobo, who was president of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre, and his wife, artist and poet Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest for more than five years.
Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, wrote in an emailed statement to the Post that China should give Liu "full freedom". "We are happy Mr Liu has been released, but sad that the circumstances are his failing health. We expect he will be granted full freedom, including the right to travel abroad," Reiss-Andersen wrote. Liu "should never have been imprisoned for exercising his right of freedom of speech."
Exiled Tiananmen student leaders Wu'er Kaixi and Wang Dan, issuing a joint statement, said: "We are shocked and devastated to learn that [Liu] has been suffering from cancer in China's brutal prison environment. "We firmly demand immediate restoration of his normal contact with the outside world."
Amnesty International (AI) also called for Liu to be "unconditionally released." Sophie Richardson, China director of Human Rights Watch, suggested the Nobel Prize Committee head to Shenyang immediately. "The Chinese authorities should immediately ensure that Liu Xiaobo receives adequate medical care, and that all he and all other imprisoned for exercising their human rights are immediately and unconditionally released," the AI said in a statement following news of Liu's parole.
But China's foreign ministry hit back, saying "no country has the right to interfere and make irresponsible remarks on Chinese internal affairs." "China is a rule-of-law country, where everybody is equal in front of the law. Any other country should respect China's judicial sovereignty, and shouldn't use individual cases to interfere," spokesman Lu Kang told a regular briefing after being asked about the US statement.
Liu Xiaobo, 61, was arrested in 2008 after writing a pro-democracy manifesto called Charter 08, in which he called for an end to one-party rule and improvements in human rights. Following a year in detention and a two-hour trial, he was sentenced to 11 years in December 2009 for inciting subversion of state power.
Poet and human rights activist Liu, who was represented by an empty chair at his 2010 Nobel prize ceremony, was detained in 2008 and sentenced to 11 years in prison. On 26 June 2017, he was granted medical parole after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.
The international media watchdog RSF says China is still one of the world's biggest prisons for journalists, which also ranked near the bottom of RSF's 2017 World Press Freedom Index – 176th out of 180 countries.