A Chinese hospital said today it was still scrambling to save terminally-ill Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, fuelling fears that he could die without getting the freedom urged by foreign governments.
The health of the prominent 61-year-old democracy advocate has deteriorated since authorities revealed last month that he had been transferred from prison to a hospital due to late-stage liver cancer.
But Chinese authorities have ignored calls by international human rights groups, Western governments and local activists to grant Liu's wish to be treated abroad.
A day after reporting that Liu was in a critical condition, the First Hospital of China Medical University in the northeastern city of Shenyang said on Tuesday that the patient was "still in active rescue".
Liu has an abdominal infection, organ dysfunction and he went into septic shock, the hospital said in a statement on its website. He is undergoing kidney dialysis, and is getting anti-infection and organ function support therapy.
The back-to-back pessimistic reports from the hospital came after foreign doctors who visited Liu over the weekend concluded that it was safe to transport him to another country, which contradicted Chinese medical experts.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman had said yesterday that she hoped for a "signal of humanity" from China.
A British embassy spokeswoman said London expressed "serious concern at the treatment of Liu Xiaobo by the Chinese authorities" and called on officials to lift all restrictions on him and let him choose where to get medical treatment.
The United States has urged Beijing to grant him full parole.
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang repeated today that he hoped "relevant countries can respect the judicial sovereignty of China and not interfere in China's internal affairs under the pretext of an individual case".
If he dies, Liu would become the first Nobel Peace Prize laureate to die in custody since German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who passed away in a hospital while held by the Nazis in 1938.
Liu was arrested in 2008 after co-writing Charter 08, a bold petition that called for the protection of basic human rights and reform of China's one-party Communist system.
He was sentenced to 11 years in prison in December 2009 for "subversion". At the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo in 2010, he was represented by an empty chair.