Germany rebukes China over footage of Liu Xiaobo’s treatment posted online
One clip of ailing Nobel winner shows doctors praising cancer care he is receiving
Pro-democracy activists stage a sit-in protest demanding the release of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, outside China’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong. Photograph: Bobby Yip/Reuters
Liu was moved to hospital from prison in Shenyang in northeastern China, where he has been serving 11 years in prison for state subversion for organising a pro-democracy petition, after he was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.
“These recordings were made against the expressed wishes of the German side, which were communicated in writing prior to the visit. It seems that these recordings are being leaked selectively to certain Chinese state media outlets,” the German embassy in Beijing said in a statement.
One of the doctors treating Liu is the cancer specialist Markus Buechler of the University of Heidelberg. The video, which appears to be shot from above, shows Dr Buechler explaining Liu’s plight to his wife Liu Xia, who stands unmoving, while at least two people film the whole process.
“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,” the embassy said.
Doctors say Liu’s prospects are worsening and the Chinese hospital has described his condition as extremely serious. Dr Buechler and the US doctor Joseph M Herman have said that he could be treated abroad, contradicting what Chinese medical experts have said, once the medical evacuation takes place quickly.
A second clip, also posted on YouTube, which is banned in China, showed doctors praising the quality of care Liu is receiving in China. A US lawyer representing Liu accused the Chinese government of trying to speed up the dissident’s death by denying him treatment overseas.
“The Chinese government’s true purpose for denying Liu’s wishes is to make it impossible for Liu Xiaobo to communicate with his close friends, family and the international community,” Jared Genser said in a statement.
“And by denying him treatments that would extend his life, the Chinese government is intentionally hastening his death. president Xi [Jinping] should not be afraid of a dying man and what he might have to say. Instead he should demonstrate China’s strength by granting a dying man’s wishes on humanitarian grounds,” Mr Genser said.
In an editorial on Monday, the Global Times newspaper said the treatment of Liu was “within China’s sovereignty, in which foreign governments and institutions have no right to interfere. The Chinese government is legitimate in its refusal of calls for Liu to be taken overseas for treatment.”
The editorial was titled “Liu Xiaobo’s cancer treatment mustn’t be politicised”.
The last recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize to die while in custody was the German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who died in 1938.