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Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who has terminal liver cancer, suffered multi-organ failure on Tuesday, the local medical team treating him said.
The hospital in the north of the country where Liu, 61, was admitted said in a statement that he had been suffering from a stomach infection, peritonitis, organ dysfunction and septic shock, a critical condition that can lead to death, Efe news reported.
The dissident was receiving treatment for infection and support for organ function, and doctors were making all efforts to save his life, the hospital said.
The update on Liu's health came amid criticism from the international community, after American and German doctors were allowed to visit him over the weekend. They contradicted the Chinese version, saying the Nobel laureate could be taken abroad for 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.
Official newspaper Global Times used one of these videos to argue in an editorial piece that "foreign forces were using the Liu case to meet political ends and that China would not yield to international pressure".
Friends and supporters of the Nobel Peace laureate continued to urge Beijing to allow Liu and his wife Liu Xia to seek medical aid in another country.
Mo Zhixu, a family friend, told Efe that as far as he knew, Liu and his entourage continued to seek to leave China.
The renowned dissident and intellectual was hospitalised amid strong security measures around the beginning of June after he was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer following almost nine years in prison.
In 2009, Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison for inciting subversion, after he helped pen down a political manifesto urging the Communist regime for democratic reforms.