China Punish Dissent Harshly to Strongly Say No to the West


Xi Jinping Thought, Declaration of ‘China Can Say No’ (9)

China punishes dissident Wu Gan with 8-year imprisonment for criticizing Chinese government. The punishment is regarded as quite severe as he had only regularly championed sensitive cases of government abuses of power, both online and in street protests. However, he had not advocated replacement of China’ one-party autocracy with Western democracy. Compared with the 11-year imprisonment Liu Xiaobo received for issuing a document on the replacement and collecting the signatures of thousands of people supporting the document. The 8-year imprisonment Wu Gan has got is quite severe.

Reuters says in its report “China chides U.S., German embassies after call for release of activist” on December 28 that the U.S. and German embassies issued a joint statement on December 27 to call for setting Wu free.

China soon responded strongly. Its foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press conference that the two embassies had “no right to criticize what was purely an internal affair of China’s and a matter of China’s judicial sovereignty” and “We hope that the relevant diplomatic missions can take the correct position with regards to their own responsibilities.” She, in addition, pointed out that China is a country with rule of law and justice officials handled cases in line with the law.

China says no so promptly and strongly as China now has self-confidence in its path, theory, system and culture as pointed out in Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping’s speech to CCP 19th Congress.

In the speech, Xi has set an ambitious goal for China to grow into a great socialist power by 2050.

If China can keep its fast economic growth, by 2050 it will by far surpass the US and replace the US as number one in the world.

US President Trump sees the potential replacement and wants US economy to grow faster but has encountered lots of obstacles. He has a tax reform approved by US Congress in order to boost US economy, but his policies may not be continued by his successor. At best, he can only be sure that his policies will last for 7 years if he can serve another term.

China is an autocracy, Xi is sure that he can serve two more terms, choose a successor to carry on his efforts to attain the goal while he will remain in control after his retirement like Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin.

Therefore, China is very likely to maintain its fast economic growth to surpass the US before 2050. Trump’s predecessor Obama saw that and began to adopt his policy of pivot to Asia to contain China but failed.

Now, the US adopts the Indo-Pacific strategy of quad to contain China, especially to hinder China’s Road and Belt plan, but quad is a military instead of economic strategy without being able to hinder China’s plan of win-win economic cooperation. China’s Belt and Road projects have been successfully carried out in Central Asia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Greece. With the win-win cooperation through its Belt and Road initiative, China will be able to maintain its relatively fast growth for the next two decades.

China’s grand plans to divert water from Tibet to Xinjiang will enable it to develop its west vigorously so as to maintain fast growth for another 3 decades. As a result, there are satisfactory prospects for China to attain its ambitious goal.

However, there may be serious setback.

In the course of China’s strife to attain the goal, the US will try its best to hinder China’s efforts. That is the influence of Thucydides Trap. Due to the trap, Obama began his pivot to Asia to contain China, but he did not admit that the pivot aimed at dealing with China’s rise.

Trump, however, says in his recent national security strategy openly that China is the most significant national security challenge among the five major threats from China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and Islamic terrorism.

China is accused of being determined to control information and data to repress its society and expand its influence. That may refer to China’s censorship, restriction of freedom of press and speech and China’s human rights system different from Western ones.

The strategy says that Trump’s doctrine is to promote individual liberty, rule of law, democratic governance, tolerance, and opportunity, which is in fact what the US has been doing for decades. It has resulted in the Tiananmen Protests, Liu Xiaobo’s Charter 08 manifesto for multi-party democracy and rights activists’ activities for human rights. China believes that such activities are instigated by the US to subvert Chinese Communist Party’s rule as the US regards promoting such activities as its doctrine.

Unlike the US that is spreading its values including individual liberty, democracy and human rights system, China has declared that it does not export its model. However, The stronger and richer China grows, the more popular its model becomes among the large number of developing countries and the deeper the US sinks in Thucydides Trap. The US will enhance its efforts to support Chinese dissidents in the hope that they will disturb China’s progress. Therefore China is defensive instead of offensive in saying no to the West in order to prevent the emergence of another Tiananmen Protests that will hinder China’ efforts to attain its ambitious goal.

As a result, China has tightened the screw in oppressing dissidents. However, I believe that it is not necessary as Xi has successfully fought rampant corruption, the major cause of Tiananmen Protests.

The separatist Islamic terrorism is a much more serious danger that may give rise to panic throughout China and hinder China’s grand plan to develop its vast west. That will make it impossible for China to attain its ambitious goal.

That is why Zhang Haitao is punished with 20-year imprisonment, much severer than Wu Gan. According to SCMP’s report “How questioning China’s security crackdown in Xinjiang led to a 20-year jail term”, Zhang questioned Xinjiang government’s policies and warned that government’s restriction on Uygurs’ religious practices may spark an insurgency only on the Internet. Unlike Wu Gan, he has not protested in the streets.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters and SCMP’s reports, full text of which can respectively be found at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-rights/china-chides-u-s-german-embassies-after-call-for-release-of-activist-idUSKBN1EM0TB and
http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2125910/how-questioning-chinas-security-crackdown-xinjiang-led.

Advertisements

China Says No to Western, Advocates Its Own Human Rights Standards


Xi Jinping Thought, Declaration of ‘China Can Say No’ (3)

China has been criticized for its situation of human rights for many years. In the past it was always defensive, stressing in a poor country like China human rights means the right to survive and have a full stomach and warm clothes. Chinese leaders were often embarrassed when Tiananmen Protests were mentioned.

Recently, the EU and US have released statements expressing extreme concerns about the deterioration of human rights in China, citing measures such as internet restrictions and the detention of lawyers while Western media have been fiercely attacking China for its imprisonment of Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaopo and round-up of dissidents. However, China is not embarrassed at all. It just ignored the criticism and attacks. On the country, Chinese State Council’s white paper on human rights this year lists international cooperation on counterterrorism and climate change and China’s success in hunting down and repatriating fugitives wanted for corruption as China’s human rights achievements.

SCMP says in its report that in addition, China’s white paper regards as human rights achievements China’s “abolition of the death penalty for nine offences, legislation to tackle domestic violence and moves to exonerate people who had been wrongfully convicted.”

It quotes China’s state news agency Xinhua as saying,“Never before have Chinese people enjoyed such full economic, social and cultural, and civil and political rights as today”, and “The cause of human rights in China is making consistent progress in the right direction.”

China’s Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics on a New Era sets China’s own standards of human rights. China now simply ignores Western criticism and concerns on human rights regarding dissidents, press freedom and Internet censorship. According to Chinese standards, “The cause of human rights in China is making consistent progress in the right direction.” Does it imply that the EU and US are not on the right direction?

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report and People’s Daily’s editorial, full text of SCMP’s report can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2124561/china-hails-year-remarkable-progress-human-rights-us while that of the editorial in Chinese can be found at http://paper.people.com.cn/rmrb/html/2017-12/06/nw.D110000renmrb_20171206_8-01.htm.


China says Taiwan remarks on dissident Liu ‘very dangerous’


Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen poses for photographs during an interview with Reuters at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan April 27, 2017.Tyrone Siu/Files

BEIJING (Reuters) – China accused Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen of aggravating tension across the Taiwan Strait on Friday, citing her comments following the death of Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo as an example of “repeated arbitrary attacks”.

Tsai said on Thursday that the self-ruled island hoped China could show self-confidence and promote political reform, after the dissident Liu died of cancer.

“Only through democracy, in which every Chinese person has freedom and respect, can China truly become a proud and important country,” she said.

Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, was quoted by the official Xinhua news agency as saying that such “reckless” comments were “very dangerous” for cross-strait relations.

Liu, who died aged 61, was sentenced to 11 years jail in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power” after he helped write a petition known as “Charter 08” calling for sweeping political reforms.

Reiterating the Chinese government’s line, Ma said Liu was sentenced due to violating the law and that “China made all-out efforts to treat him humanely in accordance with the law”.

Beijing distrusts Tsai and her ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) because it traditionally advocates independence for Taiwan. Beijing says the island is part of China and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under its control.

Ma said Tsai and the DPP had “lifted the deceptive veil” of maintaining the status quo in cross-strait relations and that the repeated attacks were an attempt to pull ties back to “tensity and turbulence”.

“Such behavior is very dangerous,” he said, according to the Xinhua report, which was carried only in English.

China has bristled previously at Tsai’s comments on China’s political system.

In June, it issued an angry response when Tsai offered to help China transition to democracy while marking the 28th anniversary of 1989’s violent suppression of pro-democracy protests in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

Reporting by Philip Wen; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Ben Blanchard

Source: Reuters “China says Taiwan remarks on dissident Liu ‘very dangerous’”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


‘No enemies’: the life-long advocacy of China’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident


Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo is seen in this undated photo released by his families.

BEIJING (Reuters) – During a hunger strike days before the Chinese army crushed the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement on June 4, 1989, the man who would become China’s best known dissident, Liu Xiaobo, declared: “We have no enemies.”

When being tried in 2009 on charges of inciting subversion of state power for helping write Charter 08 – a pro-democracy manifesto calling for an end to one-party rule – Liu reaffirmed: “I have no enemies and no hatred.”

He was sentenced to 11 years in prison that same year, drawing protests from the United States, many European governments and rights groups, which condemned the stiff sentence and called for his early release.

Liu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

Liu, 61, died on Thursday of multiple organ failure, the government of the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang said. He was being treated in a hospital there, having been admitted in June after being diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer.

His wife, Liu Xia, had told Reuters previously that her husband wanted to dedicate the Nobel prize to those who died in the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.

“He said this prize should go to all the victims of June 4,” Liu Xia said, after she was allowed to visit him in jail following the announcement of the prize.

“He felt sad, quite upset. He cried. He felt it was hard to deal with.”

Liu Xia had been living under house arrest since her husband won the Nobel prize, but had been allowed to visit him in prison about once a month. She suffers from depression.

She was allowed to be with him in the hospital where he spent his last days.

Charter 08

Liu had been a thorn in Beijing’s side since 1989, when he helped negotiate a deal to allow protesters to leave Tiananmen Square before troops and tanks rolled in.

“Using the law to promote rights can only have a limited impact when the judiciary is not independent,” Liu told Reuters in 2006, when he was under house arrest, in comments typical of those that have angered the government.

Charter 08 alarmed the Communist Party more for the 350 signatures – dignitaries from all walks of life – he collected than its content, political analysts said.

The manifesto was modeled on the Charter 77 petition that became a rallying call for the human rights movement in communist Czechoslovakia in 1977.

Liu had ceaselessly campaigned for the rights of the Tiananmen Mothers of victims of the crackdown.

He was much better known abroad than at home due to a government ban on internet and state media discussion of the Tiananmen protests, and of him, aside from the odd editorial condemning him. Liu was considered a moderate by fellow dissidents and international rights groups. But they say the Communist Party is insecure and paranoid, fearing anyone or anything that it perceives as a threat to stability.

In 2003, Liu wrote an essay, calling for the embalmed corpse of Chairman Mao Zedong to be removed from a mausoleum on Tiananmen Square. Mao is still a demigod to many in China.

Over the years, Liu won numerous human rights and free speech awards from organizations including Reporters Without Borders, Human Rights Watch and Hong Kong’s Human Rights Press Awards.

His books have been published in Germany, Japan, the United States, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Hero to Some, Traitor to Others

A hero to many in the West, Liu was branded a traitor by Chinese nationalists.

He had come under fire from nationalists for his comments in a 2006 interview with Hong Kong’s now-defunct Open magazine in which he said China would “need 300 years of colonization for it to become like what Hong Kong is today”.

The government considered him a criminal.

“For Liu Xiaobo, whatever the United States says or does is right, and whatever the Communist Party says or does is wrong,” a source with ties to the leadership said.

“It’s too absolute,” said the source, who declined to be identified.

Liu’s critics were suspicious of the motives of the Nobel Peace Prize committee, noting that Liu praised the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

He had also been taken to task domestically because non-governmental organizations he headed received funding from the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy.

The third of five boys, Liu was born in Changchun, capital of the northeastern province of Jilin, on Dec. 29, 1955.

His father, Liu Ling, taught Chinese literature at Northeast Normal University. His mother worked at a kindergarten affiliated with the university.

In 1970, at age 15, Liu was with his parents when they were sent to a labor camp in the region of Inner Mongolia at the height of the Cultural Revolution.

Liu worked briefly as a plasterer at a state-owned construction company in Changchun in 1976. After the Cultural Revolution, China resumed national university entrance examinations which Liu passed.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in Chinese literature from Jilin University and obtained his master’s and doctorate degrees from Beijing Normal University.

Reporting by Benjamin Kang Lim; Editing by Robert Birsel and Alex Richardson

Source: Reuters “’No enemies’: the life-long advocacy of China’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Quiet success for China at G20 as Xi avoids drama and spotlight


FILE PHOTO – U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shake hands prior to a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/ Pool/File Photo

By Ben Blanchard | BEIJING Mon Jul 10, 2017 | 9:23am EDT

From U.S. anger over inaction on North Korea to a festering border dispute with India and the ailing Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, last week’s G20 summit was strewn with minefields for China’s President Xi Jinping.

By chance or by strategy, Xi and his officials picked their way through unscathed.

Beijing is ultra-sensitive about Xi’s image and ensuring he gets the respect it sees as his due as leader of an emerging superpower, especially when traveling to Western countries where it cannot so tightly control the public narrative.

Diplomatic sources in Beijing, speaking ahead of Xi’s trip to the G20 gathering in the German city of Hamburg, said Chinese officials had in private expressed nervousness that he could be asked awkward questions about North Korea, or the cancer-struck Liu, jailed for 11 years in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power”.

In the end it was U.S. President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, amid accusations Russia interfered in the U.S. election, and Trump’s refusal to return to the Paris climate agreement that dominated the limelight.

Xi, by contrast, avoided controversy in his bilateral meetings and reaffirmed China’s commitment to the Paris deal and to an open global economy, in what the official China Daily called the “burnishing of (his) reputation”.

“Nobody talked about the South China Sea. No one talked about trade. Everyone was happy with Xi. I think he played this well,” said Ulrich Speck, senior fellow at the Elcano Royal Institute in Brussels.

“All eyes were on Trump and Putin. But the fact that there was no U.S.-China clash was at least as important. Xi stayed out of the alpha-male fight. China presented itself as a partner to Europe.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Xi “made it clear that the G20 should adhere to taking the path of open development and mutual benefit leading to all-win results, support a multilateral trade mechanism, and promote international trade and investment”.

“China was in a good place at G20, with reasonable policies,” said Jin Canrong of the School of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, who has advised the government on diplomatic matters.

“So President Xi was comfortable and positive there.”

DON’T MENTION TAIWAN

Potentially the biggest test was Xi’s meeting with Trump, who in the run-up to Hamburg had voiced frustration over China’s inability to rein in its troublesome erstwhile ally, North Korea.

In the event, Trump returned to the conciliatory tone struck at their first meeting in April, telling the Chinese leader it was “an honor to have you as a friend” and he appreciated actions Xi had already taken to try to dissuade North Korea from pursuing nuclear weapons.

Influential Chinese state-run tabloid the Global Times said in an editorial on Monday that the Xi-Trump meeting had defied “the naysayers in the West”.

“Beijing and Washington saw friction on issues including Taiwan and the South China Sea ahead of the meeting, and there was speculation from Western public opinion that the China-U.S. ‘honeymoon’ had come to an end. But the Xi-Trump meeting repudiates such speculation,” the paper said.

Speaking to reporters later on Air Force One, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump-Xi meeting lasted more than an hour-and-a-half, and would have gone on longer had they not had to leave for other engagements.

Ruan Zongze, a former Chinese diplomat now with the China Institute of International Studies, a think-tank affiliated with the Foreign Ministry, said Xi was much more upbeat than when he spoke to Trump a few days ahead of G20 and mentioned certain unnamed “negative factors” in their relationship.

“Even on trade Trump underscored that he wants cooperation,” Ruan said.

China’s biggest concern had been U.S. policy toward self-ruled Taiwan, after the Trump administration approved a $1.42 billion arms package for Taiwan, claimed by China as its own.

Neither government mentioned Taiwan in their respective accounts of their G20 meeting.

Chinese officials were at pains to point out their good relations with the new administration in Washington.

Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao told reporters in Hamburg that the Chinese and U.S. teams dealing the bilateral financial relationship clearly understood that both would be hurt by fighting with each other.

“Our strength is communicating every morning and every evening. This is unprecedented,” Zhu said.

NO DRAMA, FOR NOW…

On India, where China has over the past few weeks accused New Delhi of provocation by sending troops across the border in a disputed region, Xi avoided drama by not having a formal bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, though India’s foreign ministry said they did speak.

Even on Liu Xiaobo, Xi avoided being put on the spot, with China on Saturday allowing a U.S. and German doctor to meet him at his hospital in northeastern China.

Still, the faultlines remain in the tricky China-United States relationship.

China may respond more assertively if, for example, more Chinese entities are sanctioned by the United States over North Korea or Trump raises barriers to Chinese goods as he has frequently threatened, said a senior Beijing-based Western diplomat.

“China has been restrained so far in reacting to Trump, but that is unlikely to last,” said the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Things are gearing up to be a summer of drama between China and the United States.”

(Additional reporting by Gao Liangping in Beijing, Roberta Rampton in Washington and Noah Barkin in Hamburg; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Source: Reuters “Quiet success for China at G20 as Xi avoids drama and spotlight”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China invites foreign experts to help treat ailing dissident Liu


FILE PHOTO: A protester holds a portrait of Chinese Nobel rights activist Liu Xiaobo as she step on portraits of Chinese President Xi Jinping during a candlelight vigil demanding the release of Liu, ahead of 20th anniversary of the city’s handover from British to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, China June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

By Ben Blanchard and Christian Shepherd | BEIJING Wed Jul 5, 2017 | 10:11am EDT

China invited medical experts from the United States and Germany to help treat dissident Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo for cancer, a local government announced on Wednesday, in a softening of its stance ahead of this week’s G20 summit in Germany.

Liu, 61, was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power” after he helped write a petition known as “Charter 08” calling for sweeping political reforms.

He was recently moved from jail to a hospital to be treated for late-stage liver cancer.

The hospital, in the northeastern city of Shenyang, made the decision at the request of the family and in consultation with the doctors already treating him, the Shenyang Bureau of Justice said in a short statement on its website.

It provided no other details. Officials who picked up the telephone at the hospital said they were unaware of the case.

A German government spokesman confirmed that a German doctor was part of the team treating Liu and that Berlin was in close contact with the Chinese government on the issue.

“The Chinese government told us yesterday about their willingness to allow treatment for Mr Liu including access to foreign doctors, including a German specialist,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin.

“We very much welcome this and are still pushing for a humanitarian solution,” Seibert said.

A source close to Liu’s family said the invitation was a positive step that greatly increased transparency around Liu’s illness and the chance that he would receive the best possible treatment available.

“The fact that they specially chose the U.S. and Germany suggests that the authorities are considering allowing Liu to travel to one of these two countries,” the source said, although there were still questions about how the doctors would be chosen and what access they would have.

Asked if the move would lead to Liu leaving the country, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular briefing: “We hope other countries can respect China’s judicial sovereignty and not meddle in China’s internal affairs.”

TIME “RUNNING OUT”

Rights group Amnesty International said the move appeared in part “an attempt to limit international criticism” even as the government continued to refuse to allow Liu to be treated overseas.

“Time is running out for Liu Xiaobo,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty’s secretary general.

“It is not too late for the authorities to end this cruel farce. They must let Liu Xiaobo and his wife, Liu Xia, travel abroad to get the medical treatment he so desperately needs.”

The U.S. embassy in Beijing declined to comment. Newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad said last week the United States would like to see Liu treated elsewhere for his cancer.

The move comes ahead of President Xi Jinping’s attendance at a summit of the Group of 20 nations in Hamburg, Germany, on Friday and Saturday, where Xi will seek to project Chinese leadership on issues such as climate change and free trade.Diplomatic sources in Beijing say China has been nervous the issue over the Nobel Peace Prize winner could overshadow Xi’s appearance.

Also In World News
U.S. prepared to use force on North Korea ‘if we must’: U.N. envoy
Venezuelan lawmakers beaten in latest violent flare-up

An open letter by a coalition of rights groups, including those representing Tibetans and Uighurs, on Wednesday urged G20 leaders to press China for the unconditional release of Liu and his freedom to travel.

“Liu Xiaobo’s 2010 Nobel Peace Prize illuminated the human and political rights of the people under China’s rule, and created a real sense of hope,” the coalition said.

“We urge you not to let that sense of hope fade.”

The government has said Liu is getting the best care possible and is being treated by renowned Chinese cancer experts.

However, a growing number of Western politicians and international rights activists have expressed concern about the quality of Liu’s treatment and say he should be given the choice to leave China if that was the best option.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has met Chinese officials regarding Liu, a spokeswomen said on Tuesday.

Chinese authorities told diplomats from Germany, the United States and the European Union on Friday that Liu could not be moved abroad due to his condition, sources briefed on the matter have told Reuters.

(Additional reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Paul Tait and Gareth Jones)

Source: Reuters “China invites foreign experts to help treat ailing dissident Liu

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Chinese Nobel rights activist Liu Xiaobo released on medical parole


FILE PHOTO: Pro-democracy demonstrators hold up photo of jailed Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo during a protest to urge for the release of Liu, who was sentenced to imprisonment seven years ago on Christmas day, outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong, China December 25, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

By Christian Shepherd and Ben Blanchard | BEIJING Mon Jun 26, 2017

Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winning rights activist Liu Xiaobo has been released from prison on medical parole and is being treated in hospital for late-stage liver cancer, his lawyer said on Monday.

Liu, 61, was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power” after he helped write a petition known as “Charter 08” calling for sweeping political reforms in China.

In December 2010, Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his activism promoting human rights in China, causing Beijing to freeze diplomatic ties with Norway. China and Norway normalized ties in December last year.

Mo Shaoping, Liu’s lawyer, told Reuters that Liu was being treated for late-stage liver cancer in Shenyang and that medical parole had been approved. He did not elaborate.

The prison bureau of Liaoning province, where Shenyang is located, confirmed the medical parole in a short statement on its website, adding that Liu was being treated by eight people it described as “well-known tumor experts”.

The public security ministry and justice ministry did not immediately respond to faxed requests for comment.

A man who answered the telephone at the Shenyang hospital where Liu is being treated said he could not check information on individual cases as there were too many patients there.

Tibetan writer and family friend Tsering Woeser said she had been in tears after reading online reports of Liu’s illness.

“I’m shocked and deeply saddened,” she told Reuters. “All we can do now is pray for him.”

Liu Xia, Liu’s wife, who has been under effective house arrest since her husband won the Nobel Peace Prize, is suffering from depression but has been allowed to visit him in prison about once a month, a source close to the dissident told Reuters.

Liu was not allowed to attend his father-in-law’s funeral last year and his mother-in-law’s funeral this year, said the source who asked not to be identified.

Liu had been incarcerated at Jinzhou Penitentiary in Liaoning, his home province in northeast China, before being moved to the hospital for treatment.

‘INCREDIBLY SAD’

In Oslo, the five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee which awards the peace prize strongly criticized Beijing.

“The committee is pleased that Liu Xiaobo is out of prison, but at the same time regrets in the strongest terms that it took a serious illness before the Chinese authorities agreed to release him,” it said in a rare statement.

“He was in reality sentenced for exercising his freedom of expression and should never have been jailed,” it added, reiterating a standing invitation for Liu to come to Norway.

Rights group Amnesty International also confirmed the news of Liu’s illness. Patrick Poon, a China researcher for Amnesty, said on Twitter that the diagnosis was made on May 23.

William Nee, also of Amnesty, said authorities should ensure Liu was getting adequate medical care and he called for the immediate and unconditional release of Liu and his wife.

“Obviously, it’s a shameful situation and it’s incredibly sad to see one of China’s most prominent intellectuals suffer from such a terrible illness when he never should’ve been detained in the first place,” Nee said.

He also called for the Nobel Committee and the international community to speak up “forcefully” for Liu now.

Supporters, many of whom have been campaigning for Liu’s release for years, took to Twitter and other platforms to express sadness at the news of his illness and denounce the Chinese government’s treatment of him.

Activists have flagged numerous cases of abuse in detention over the years, including denial of medical treatment for political activists, charges generally disputed by the government.

“There have been lots of similar cases where the individual was released on medical parole just before they die,” well-known and outspoken activist Hu Jia told Reuters.

China has acknowledged problems of mistreatment in the criminal justice system and has repeatedly vowed to crack down to address them.

(Additional reporting by Benjamin Kang Lim, Venus Wu in Hong Kong, Alister Doyle in Oslo and Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Editing by Robert Birsel and Toby Chopra)