The hospital treating imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo said Monday his condition is now critical and doctors are in "active rescue" mode for China's best-known political prisoner.
The First Hospital of China Medical University said in a statement that Liu, who has liver cancer, is suffering from a severely swollen stomach, low blood pressure and poor kidney function.
An MRI scan also revealed growing cancer lesions. The lesions have caused localized bleeding in his liver, the statement said.
Liu's health has been the subject of international attention after news emerged in late June that the dissident had been transferred to a Chinese hospital because of late-stage liver cancer. Supporters and Western governments urged China to allow Liu to choose where he wants to be treated and to release him, which Beijing has so far resisted, citing Liu's fragile health and arguing that he is receiving the best possible care in China.
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Liu was convicted in 2009 of inciting subversion for his role in the "Charter 08" movement calling for political reform. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a year later while in prison.
At a daily briefing on Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang repeatedly declined to say whether Liu would be allowed to leave China and asked other countries to "respect China's national sovereignty and refrain from interfering in China's domestic affairs due to an individual case."
A video clip surfaced on Monday of what appeared to be a foreign expert, Markus W. Buchler of Heidelberg University, addressing Liu's wife, Liu Xia, to tell her that Chinese doctors were doing their utmost to help Liu and were "very committed to his treatment."
Following a visit with Liu on Saturday, Buchler and an American doctor, Joseph Herman from the University of Texas, said on Sunday that they deemed Liu strong enough to be evacuated, apparently contradicting Chinese expert opinion.