As Liu Xiaobo’s condition worsens, what should we do?

Please refer to CN version as the original statement: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1gpgLb7wZJmdmVKUnZSQU5vTEE/view

Many people, myself included, felt July 6 was a day of sorrow and turmoil as Liu Xiaobo’s condition worsened, and I saw every sort of expression and response. Normally, I don’t accept media interviews to speak on matters concerning Liu Xiaobo, but with the way things are today, what can I – and we – do? I feel a responsibility to speak publicly.

The first thing I want to say is, I’ve been in direct contact with Liu Xia’s brother, Liu Hui, regarding Liu Xiaobo’s condition. Many people have misread the situation. To be specific, targeted therapy treatment is highly effective in some patients, and not necessarily so in others. A prognosis can be made approximately one month after treatment begins.

Liu Xiaobo’s situation, however, is not that optimistic, as “his condition is at the most critical stage, spreading its quickest, with no improvement after 2–3 weeks of treatment. The side effects have severely reduced his liver functions and abdominal fluid levels are also now serious, so anti-cancer drugs have been temporarily stopped mainly to preserve his liver, and give his body a chance to breath.” (Liu Hui, verbatim on the evening of July 6.)

The head doctors overseeing treatment for Liu Xiaobo’s condition are professor Qin Shukui from the People’s Liberation Army’s No. 81 Hospital and professor Mao Yilei from Peking Union Medical College Hospital.

Under the circumstances, we have to keep our cool and do everything we can to put Liu Xiaobo’s interests first.

The most important demand remains that Liu Xiaobo be given the best medical treatment available, and that professionals be allowed to take over to handle such professional matters, which include the following:

  1. Complete freedom to seek treatment overseas;
  2. Until that condition has been met, make public the names of all attending and consulting doctors, and have the attending and consulting doctors independently and openly inform the public on Liu Xiaobo’s condition and treatment situation;
  3. As China already has many outstanding world-class international hospitals, until such a time Liu Xiaobo is free to seek treatment overseas, he should be immediately transferred to an international hospital to receive better treatment and service free from interference – fees for which Liu Xiaobo’s supporters are willing to raise among themselves, efforts I will personally oversee if necessary;
  4. Invite supportive scholars and medical treatment experts to recommend internationally recognized liver cancer treatment specialists from overseas to treat Liu Xiaobo, and allow them, independently and openly, to speak publicly regarding Liu Xiaobo’s condition and make recommendations for his treatment.
  5. The primary principle in treatment is that every step must be based on the professional opinion of a doctor, with the autonomous permission of the patient. Progression of a disease might be good at times and bad at others, with risk indeterminate, and the current situation might remain for quite some time. Therefore, it must be ensured Liu Xiaobo receives the best, most humane, and most dignified treatment.
  6. As of now, Liu Xiaobo is still unable to speak publicly, and the video footage on hand shows just how frail is body is, with nearly no private space for him to move freely. Liu Xiaobo, his friends and family, must be given complete and total personal freedom.
  7. In consideration of these friends and supporters, their interest and concern, as well as Liu Xiaobo’s need as a patient for absolute silence in which to recover, Liu Xiaobo and his family should be given a fixed or regular time – such as half an hour each day – to allow Liu Xiaobo to meet, speak and confer with whomever he wants. Liu Xiaobo’s core supporters should think concretely about the best ways to organize, manage and provide truly meaningful support over the long-term for Liu Xiaobo’s life and work.

Zeng Jinyan. July 7, 2017

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