[JURIST] Human Rights Nobel Peace Prize winner [Nobel Prize profile] Liu Xiaobo [NYT profile, JURIST news archive] was released on medical parole as he was diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer, Liu’s lawyer [NYT report] and prison officials [press release, in Chinese] stated on Monday. Liu’s lawyer Mo Shaoping released [Reuters report] the statement and prison authorities have further added that Liu is being treated by eight Chinese tumor experts. The Norwegian Nobel Committee stated [Nobel Prize press release] that it was “delighted to learn that Liu Xiaobo is out of prison at long last. At the same time the Committee strongly regrets that it took serious illness before Chinese authorities were willing to release him from jail.”
Liu has been one of China’s most prominent dissidents. He spent two years in prison following the Tiananmen Square [BBC backgrounder] uprising, has long challenged China’s one-party rule and co-authored Charter 08 [text], a petition calling for political reforms in the country. International organizations have been pushing for Liu’s release since he was announced as the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize [JURIST reports] in November 2010. In December 2010 Liu was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize in absentia [JURIST report] at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway. The Chinese government denounced the decision calling it “contrary to the purpose of the Nobel Prize,” and censoring the announcement, blocking internet searches and international broadcasts about it and even turning off phones of people who text messaged the news.