China has roared back at the U.S. for making “irresponsible remarks” about Liu Xiaobo, a terminally ill Nobel Peace Prize winner serving an 11-year sentence on subversion charges.
Xiaobo, who is suffering from liver cancer, was recently transferred to a hospital from his prison cell. He remains, however, under Chinese authority – a move several Washington politicians have called out against. Meanwhile, his wife remains under house arrest.
“We call on the Chinese authorities to not only release Mr. Liu but also to allow his wife Ms. Liu Xia out of house arrest,” US embassy spokeswoman Mary Beth Polley said.
In response, Chinese foreign spokesman Lu Kang said: “China is a country with rule of law. Everyone is equal before the law. All other countries should respect China’s judicial independence and sovereignty, and should not use any so-called individual case to interfere in China’s internal affairs.”
Xiaobo took part in the historic Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. He was arrested and charged with subversion after drafting Charter 08 – a document which called for multi-party democracy. In 2010, he won the Nobel Peace prize and the committee recognized him as “the foremost symbol” of the human rights struggle in China.
The Chinese government refused to let him accept the award and his wife was placed under house arrest shortly after. She remains to be charged with a crime.
Xiaobo was diagnosed with cancer in May and is now being treated in Shengyang, his lawyer lawyer Mo Shaoping told reporters.
According to a government statement, he is on medical parole and being treated by eight tumor surgeons. However, in a video posted online recently, a tearful Mrs. Liu said: “[They] cannot perform surgery, cannot perform radiotherapy, cannot perform chemotherapy.”