Friends of China’s most famous political prisoner, the Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, have issued a plea to Chinese authorities to be allowed one final audience with the dying activist. The Chinese democracy campaigner, who was diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer in May after more than seven years in prison, appears to be nearing the end of his life. Family friends and doctors said on Thursday the 61-year-old’s condition had worsened and he was close to death.
Liu is reportedly being held under armed police guard at a hospital in north-eastern China, having been granted medical parole, and friends say they have been refused access to the dying activist. Only a small group of relatives, including Liu’s wife, the poet Liu Xia, and his brother-in-law, Liu Hui, are thought to have been allowed to see him.