Dissident Liu Xiaobo's condition worsens as organs fail, hospital says

Hospital: Ailing China Nobel laureate in critical condition

The First Hospital of China Medical University said Wednesday on its website that Liu needs a tube to be inserted into his windpipe to give him breathing support. According to the hospital, Liu is suffering from "infectious shock" and "spontaneous peritonitis" as fluids and inflammation build up in his abdomen.

USA and German cancer experts visited Liu last weekend and determined that he was strong enough to be medically evacuated, but the hospital has issued pessimistic medical updates since then.

The United Nations human rights office demanded today that the UN be given access to Liu.

Human rights lawyer Albert Ho called it a "marathon sit-in" aimed at sending a strong message to Beijing.

Two foreign doctors, one German and one American, reported on Sunday after visiting Mr Liu that he wanted to leave for the West and it would be possible to evacuate him safely - but it needed to happen soon. He was sentenced to 11 years' jail on subversion charges but was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

Hu Jia, a dissident and friend of Liu's, said he was deeply saddened to hear the news of his worsening condition but vowed to do all he could to push for Liu's freedom.

Meanwhile, the state-run Global Times tabloid issued another scathing editorial on Wednesday, describing Western appeals to have Liu transferred overseas for treatment as "hypocritical".

Other prominent pro-democracy campaigners who left China on medical grounds, including Tiananmen student leader Wang Dan and veteran activist Wei Jingsheng, did so when China was still seeking membership in the World Trade Organization and made human rights concessions.

As China's government faces mounting worldwide pressure to grant Liu his wish to leave the country for treatment, information control is a familiar strategy.

"It is probably out of politics that some people and forces are requesting Liu to be treated overseas", the nationalistic Global Times tabloid, published by the People's Daily, said in an editorial Tuesday headlined "Liu's cancer treatment mustn't be politicized".

The doctors added that both their institutions have agreed and are prepared to accept Liu for cancer treatment.

The German Embassy in Beijing complained on Monday that authorities recorded the meeting between the doctors and Liu without the consent of the German side and later leaked some carefully selected parts of it to the Chinese media.

News searches for Liu's name on Baidu, China's largest internet search engine, have turned up no hits since February.

"We do not know how reliable these accounts are, or if they mean Liu Xiaobo can not travel", one family friend told Reuters, declining to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.

The German statement also said the country's security services were steering Liu's treatment rather than the doctors.

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