Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo has been released on medical parole after being diagnosed with liver cancer, his lawyer has said.

“I heard that his liver cancer is in the terminal stages, and that he is on medical parole and being treated in the hospital – the news came from his brother Liu Xiaoxuan, he has verified it,” Liu’s lawyer Mo Shaoping told Apple Daily on Monday.

liu xiaobo
Liu Xiaobo.

The newspaper cited sources as saying that Liu was diagnosed with advanced liver cancer at the end of May. His lawyers did not apply for parole, as they were previously pressured to stop taking part in Liu’s case, according to Apple Daily.

Liu is a poet and human rights activist who was detained in 2008 and sentenced to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power.” He was arrested after writing Charter ’08, a manifesto calling for democratic reform in China.

He was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2010 for his campaign for democracy and human rights. The award caused China to suspend its ties with Norway, which were only resumed at the end of last year.

Liu Xiaobo
A seat for Liu Xiaobo was left empty during the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. Photo:

Liu’s lawyer Shang Baojun also confirmed the news with Initium, and said that Liu is being treated at a hospital affiliated with The China Medical University in Shenyang, Liaoning.

Mo said that his situation is unclear. “According to the rules his family should be able to see him in the hospital, but right now it’s unclear whether they can actually do so.”

In response to the news, Pen Hong Kong called for Liu’s release on Monday: “We call on the Chinese government to immediately provide Liu Xiaobo with the best possible medical care, and release him unconditionally. At a time when China wants to have a greater international role, it is only fitting that it should show humanity and compassion towards a man who has never committed any violent crime, but has dedicated his life to literature and free expression.”

Liu’s wife Liu Xia has been under house arrest since 2010.

In 2015, many notable authors including Margaret Atwood and Ian Rankin signed a PEN International statement calling for Liu’s release.

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.