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Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo in life-threatening condition, says hospital

Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo is in life-threatening condition with multiple organ failure and his family have opted against inserting a breathing tube needed to keep him alive, the hospital treating him said.

Mr Liu, who has advanced liver cancer, is suffering from respiratory and renal failure as well as septic shock, the First Hospital of China Medical University said on its website.

It said doctors informed Mr Liu's family of the need for a tracheostomy to keep him alive, but they declined.

Mr Liu and his family, who are being closely guarded in the hospital, could not immediately be reached for comment.

China's most prominent political prisoner was diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer in May and was transferred to the hospital in the north-eastern city of Shenyang.

Mr Liu's declining health has become the subject of international attention, with supporters and several foreign governments calling for him to be freed to go abroad for treatment.

On Tuesday, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert again urged China to parole him so he can receive medical care at a location of his choosing.

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.

Beijing has rebuffed the calls, saying Mr Liu is too sick to travel and is already receiving the best care possible.

China has accused other countries of politicising the writer's case and interfering in China's internal affairs.

Mr 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.

Earlier on Wednesday, the hospital released the results of two tests that showed weak liver function.

Mr Liu is receiving dialysis and plasma transfusions.

His supporters and international human rights groups have questioned whether Chinese authorities provided him with adequate care during his imprisonment.

Chinese prisons are notorious for their harsh conditions, and it is common for released prisoners to return to society in a dangerously weakened state.

China has in the past released high-profile dissidents on medical grounds and immediately exiled them to the US, notably veteran democracy campaigner Wei Jingsheng in 1997 and a leader of the 1989 student pro-democracy protests, Wang Dan, in 1998.

However, the government of President Xi Jinping has been considerably tougher in such matters, forbidding many of its critics to travel abroad while it pursues a sweeping campaign against dissent.

AP

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