Western doctors say Chinese Nobel winner Liu Xiaobo can travel
US and German medical experts who examined Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo said on Sunday it was safe to transport him abroad for cancer treatment, contradicting the assertions of Chinese doctors.
The statement by the foreign physicians who visited China's most prominent democracy advocate looked likely to add to international pressure on China to release him for treatment overseas.
The First Hospital of China Medical University in the northeastern city of Shenyang, where Liu is being treated for late-stage liver cancer had said Saturday it was "unsafe" for him to travel due to his deteriorating condition.
But American oncology expert Joseph Herman from the University of Texas' MD Anderson Cancer Center, and German doctor Markus Buchler of Heidelberg University, who visited Liu on Saturday, said otherwise.
"While a degree of risk always exists in the movement of any patient, both physicians believe Mr. Liu can be safely transported with appropriate medical evacuation care and support," they said in a joint statement.
"However, the medical evacuation would have to take place as quickly as possible."
Their statement added that both of their respective institutions had agreed to accept Liu for treatment.
Beijing has come under fire from human rights groups over its treatment of the activist and for waiting until he became terminally sick to release him from prison more than a month ago.
Liu, 61, and his family want him released to seek treatment abroad.
Rights activists and Chinese dissidents accuse Beijing of stalling and falsely claiming he is too sick to travel for fear of giving Liu a platform to speak freely overseas.
"The statement by the two experts shows that the Chinese authorities lied when the hospital released the statement yesterday," Amnesty International China researcher Patrick Poon said.
"The Chinese government should face it instead of covering up and faking news any more. They should respect Liu Xiaobo's wish to leave the country before it's too late."