Chairman of the Communist Party of China Xi Jinping who on Friday expected a Chinese military base in Hong Kong after his arrival yesterday to mark two decades of Chinese was welcomed with protests calling for the for the release of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. Protests took place in the downtown Hong Kong on Thursday.
“On the first day of Xi Jinping’s visit to Hong Kong, we want to express our demands, which are that the Chinese government immediately and unconditionally release Liu Xiaobo,” Chow Hang Tung, one of the event organizers, told the crowd gathered in the city’s central business district.
“They make it sound very nice, saying that he has been released on medical parole, but nobody is able to see him or have any contact with him,” Chow said. “He may have been moved to a hospital, but he is still effectively in jail.”
Democracy activists unfurled a black banner demanding full democracy for the city and the unconditional release of Liu Xiaobo.
Prominent Chinese dissident writer Liao Yiwu told AFP that Liu’s wife sent a formal request to China’s state security ministry requesting permission for the couple and her brother to leave the country.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 for “subversion” after calling for democratic reforms, was released on medical parole after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer last month, his lawyer said this week.
His wife, Liu Xia, sent the request before the diagnosis, but family friends say the couple wants the 61-year-old democracy campaigner to be treated abroad.
“I learned two weeks ago that Liu Xiaobo said that if he dies, he wants to die in the West,” Liao, a family friend who lives in Germany, said in a phone interview.
Another friend, who requested anonymity out of fear of persecution, told AFP he had received similar information from family sources.
Amnesty International China researcher Patrick Poon, citing people close to the family, said: “Liu Xia indeed wants Liu Xiaobo to get medical care abroad.” But the rights watchdog was unable to verify if the Nobel winner laureate himself has expressed those wishes.
The state security ministry could not be reached for comment.
In April Liu’s wife said in a letter that her husband wants to leave China.
“I am sick of my life, this grotesque life… I long to escape.”
“I can hardly believe that Xiaobo agreed to leave China together with me and (my brother). I am grateful to you and to our friends for everything you’ve been doing and cannot wait to embrace you,” it added.
Recently a video showing Liu undergoing medical exams in prison was posted on YouTube by US-based Chinese-language news site Boxun late Wednesday.
In the video, Liu says he is “grateful” for the “really good care” he has received from prison doctors.
Liu is seen playing badminton in a prison yard, getting an ultrasound and undergoing a CT scan.
Speaking with his wife in a prison visiting room divided by glass, Liu tells her that he “had a physical exam, they took blood… it’s very good.”
Boxun did not specify where the footage came from or where and when it was filmed. The site’s editors and prison authorities could not be reached for comment.
Amnesty questioned the timing of the video’s release and its source.
“If the video was leaked by authorities, this would show how anxious the Chinese government is to justify its treatment of Liu Xiaobo,” Poon said.