by WorldTribune Staff, July 11, 2017
[Updated July 13] The Chinese government security forces were overseeing every second of the last moments of cancer-stricken Nobel Prize winner and top dissident Liu Xiaobo, a surviving hero of the bloody June 4, 1989 Communist Party crackdown at Tiananmen Square who died on July 13.
Liu, who has been held since soon after the Beijing Olympics in 2008, was given an 11-year jail term for “inciting subversion of state power” after he and others co-authored a manifesto called “Charter ’08” advocating a sweeping democratic overhaul of China’s system of government.
The country’s state-run media say the treatment of Liu, diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer, “mustn’t be politicized” as they publish leaked recordings of him under surveillance while in jail and now in hospital, Stephen McDonell wrote for the BBC’s China Blog on July 11.
“International human rights groups say they are dismayed he is still being held under guard to the very end and the German government says China’s security forces are running the treatment of this terminally ill patient rather than doctors,” McDonell wrote.
Not since Nazi Germany has a Nobel Peace Prize winner died while in custody “and that is exactly what is unfolding here.”
In his statement at receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, read in absence by the actress Liv Ullmann, Liu said:
“Twenty years have passed, but the ghosts of June Fourth have not yet been laid to rest. Upon release from Qincheng Prison in 1991, I, who had been led onto the path of political dissent by the psychological chains of June Fourth, lost the right to speak publicly in my own country and could only speak through the foreign media. Because of this, I was subjected to year‑round monitoring, kept under residential surveillance (May 1995 to January 1996) and sent to Reeducation‑Through‑Labor (October 1996 to October 1999). And now I have been once again shoved into the dock by the enemy mentality of the regime. But I still want to say to this regime, which is depriving me of my freedom, that I stand by the convictions I expressed in my “June Second Hunger Strike Declaration” twenty years ago ‑ I have no enemies and no hatred. None of the police who monitored, arrested, and interrogated me, none of the prosecutors who indicted me, and none of the judges who judged me are my enemies. Although there is no way I can accept your monitoring, arrests, indictments, and verdicts, I respect your professions and your integrity, including those of the two prosecutors, Zhang Rongge and Pan Xueqing, who are now bringing charges against me on behalf of the prosecution. During interrogation on December 3, I could sense your respect and your good faith.
“Hatred can rot away at a person’s intelligence and conscience. Enemy mentality will poison the spirit of a nation, incite cruel mortal struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and hinder a nation’s progress toward freedom and democracy. That is why I hope to be able to transcend my personal experiences as I look upon our nation’s development and social change, to counter the regime’s hostility with utmost goodwill, and to dispel hatred with love. …
“My dear, with your love I can calmly face my impending trial, having no regrets about the choices I’ve made and optimistically awaiting tomorrow. I look forward to [the day] when my country is a land with freedom of expression, where the speech of every citizen will be treated equally well; where different values, ideas, beliefs, and political views … can both compete with each other and peacefully coexist; where both majority and minority views will be equally guaranteed, and where the political views that differ from those currently in power, in particular, will be fully respected and protected…” [Full Text]
According to a statement from the German Embassy, when one of the country’s doctors came to assist with Liu’s treatment, audio and video surveillance of the meeting was recorded despite prior written German requests that no such recordings be made, McDonell noted.
“Then this material was selectively leaked to Chinese state media in order to get out the message that his treatment had been humane.”
Chinese officials have said Liu is too frail to travel even though two foreign doctors, after visiting the hospital, said otherwise. As a compromise, China allowed two international specialists to see Liu in Shenyang.
After their initial visit, Dr. Joseph Herman from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Dr. Markus Büchler, chairman of Heidelberg University’s Surgery Department, released a statement:
“Liu Xiaobo and his family have requested that the remainder of his care be provided in Germany or the United States. While a degree of risk always exists in the movement of any patient, both physicians believe Mr. Liu can be safely transported with appropriate medical evacuation care and support.
“However, the medical evacuation would have to take place as quickly as possible. The University of Heidelberg and MD Anderson have each agreed to accept Mr. Liu for treatment.”
The Chinese government has not agreed to allow this to happen, McDonell noted.
“Instead it has been releasing footage of Liu Xiaobo appearing to say on camera that Chinese doctors have treated him well and that some of his symptoms pre-date his incarceration.”
At the regular Chinese Foreign Ministry press briefing on July 10, eight of the 17 questions to the spokesperson were about Liu. But, when the official transcript of the press conference appeared on the ministry’s website, all questions relating to Liu had been removed.
McDonell noted that, when Western journalists visited the hospital in Shenyang and asked the nurses on duty where Liu was, “they not only could not find his name on the database but appeared to have never heard of him, along the lines of ‘sorry could you spell that name again? Why have so many people have been asking about this man? Who is he?’ ”
“For the Chinese government this represents mission accomplished.”