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Foreign doctors deem ill Chinese Nobel laureate OK to travel

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE

    In this image taken from a 2008 video, Liu Xiaobo speaks during an interview in his home in Beijing, China. Two doctors, who saw Liu today, issued a joint statement saying that both their home institutions — the University of Heidelberg and the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas — have agreed to accept Liu, but any evacuation would have to take place “as quickly as possible.”

BEIJING >> Two American and German specialists who visited Liu Xiaobo said Sunday that the cancer-stricken Nobel Peace Prize laureate is still able to travel abroad for treatment, apparently contradicting statements by Chinese experts who maintain that a medical evacuation would be unsafe.

The two doctors, who saw Liu today, issued a joint statement saying that both their home institutions — the University of Heidelberg and the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas — have agreed to accept Liu, but any evacuation would have to take place “as quickly as possible.”

Liu, China’s most famous political dissident, was diagnosed in May with late-stage liver cancer while serving a 11-year sentence for inciting subversion by advocating sweeping political reforms that would end China’s one-party rule.

The differing opinions about the feasibility of Liu traveling could further complicate the tug-of-war over the 61-year-old activist. Family and supporters have asked for Liu to be fully released and allowed to receive treatment abroad for weeks.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has maintained that Liu is receiving the best treatment possible at the First Hospital of China Medical University in the northern city of Shenyang while warning other countries to stay out of its internal affairs.

The hospital released a brief online statement late Saturday that quoted an unnamed Chinese expert as saying that it would be unsafe for Liu to travel abroad.

Shang Baojun, a former lawyer for Liu who remains close to the family, told the Associated Press today that Liu was coherent during the visit with the foreign doctors and repeated that he wanted to go abroad for treatment, preferably in Germany, although the U.S. would also be fine.

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