Foreign doctors say Liu Xiaobo could be moved

Liu Xiaobo

Liu Xiaobo

Close friend Hu Jia said the statement countered conclusions by Chinese doctors that Liu was unfit to travel.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has maintained that Liu is receiving the best treatment possible at the First Hospital of China Medical University in the northern city of Shenyang.

The physicians, Joseph Herman of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Markus Büchler of the. A source familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of discussions confirmed that the American and German experts had seen Liu and spoken to his family.

The latest statement appears to be part of an effort by Beijing to show it is providing Liu with the best possible care, amid questions about his prison conditions and worldwide calls for him to be freed to seek treatment overseas.

In 2010, while in prison, Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China" - prompting an infuriated Beijing to place his wife under house arrest and freeze diplomatic ties with Norway, where the prize victor is chosen.

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The doctors' assessment of Mr. Liu's ability to travel renews pressure on China to grant more liberties to Mr. Liu, who is serving an 11-year sentence after being convicted of state subversion.

The hospital itself released a brief online statement late Saturday that quoted an unnamed Chinese expert as saying it would be unsafe for Liu to travel overseas.

Buchler and Herman said in their statement Sunday that they "acknowledged" the quality of care Liu has received in Shenyang. At times, Liu was lucid enough to communicate in English, Shang said.

On Saturday, the hospital said the doctors may review MRI scans and further assess Mr Liu's liver function before deciding on whether to use radiation therapy, immunotherapy and other treatments.

In a separate statement, the hospital said that he is having "difficulty eating", but continues to receive "nutritional support, pain reduction and general supportive treatment". His wife, Liu Xia, has been under strict house arrest in Beijing although she's never been accused of any crime.

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"It has been explained to me, to put things more bluntly, that the additional recommended treatments overseas could both extend Liu's life by several weeks and also reduce the pain that he feels during his remaining days", says Jared Genser, Liu's Washington D.C. -based lawyer.

Hu Jia, a Chinese dissident and family friend, said that Beijing is afraid of letting its most potent opposition symbol go overseas as long as he is able to speak to the media.

"Firstly, this gives foreign diplomats Liu Xiaobo's authorisation".

China's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Liu would be allowed to leave.

He became only the third person to receive a Nobel Peace award while being imprisoned by his own government in 2010.

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The United Nations human rights office demanded last Friday (July 7) that the UN be given access to Mr Liu, but as world leaders met with their Chinese counterpart in Germany, they remained largely silent on laureate's fate.

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