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Cardinal Zen leads prayers for dying dissident Liu Xiaobo

Hundreds of Hong Kong Christians attended event for Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner and his wife
Cardinal Zen leads prayers for dying dissident Liu Xiaobo

Cardinal Joseph Zen, an outspoken critic of the Chinese government, has written a postcard to the gravely-ill Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo. (Photo supplied)

Published: July 11, 2017 09:10 AM GMT
Updated: July 11, 2017 09:14 AM GMT

Hong Kong Christians came together to pray for terminally-ill Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner recently released from a prison in China's northeast.

Retired bishop of Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun and Protestant Reverend Wu Chi-wai led a July 7 gathering for 300 Christians at St. Vincent's Chapel to pray for Liu who is suffering late stage liver cancer.

The prayer gathering was organized by the diocese's Justice and Peace Commission and Labor Affairs Commission with four Protestant groups. The gathering organizers invited each attendee to write words of comfort on postcards to be sent to Liu and his wife Liu Xia, who has suffered from depression due to her being under house arrest since 2010.

On his postcard, Cardinal Zen told the couple that the hearts of all Catholics in Hong Kong are linked with them.

Liu Xiaobo is like the Prophet Jeremiah, the cardinal said.

"You are like the sheep waiting to be killed. We have begged God's justice for you," wrote the 85-year-old cardinal.

"But your wisdom reminded us the mission of a prophet naturally includes suffering. We dedicate you and your wife to God for the renewal of our country," he wrote.

The prayer gathering was the second event held by the commission and human rights groups in Hong Kong since Liu's release from prison on June 26.

The other event — outside the central government's Liaison Office in Hong Kong on June 27 — protested against how Liu has been treated by mainland authorities.

Liu, 61, was sentenced to 11 years for inciting subversion of state power on Dec. 25, 2009 for his leading role in the Charter 08 manifesto. He was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."

Liu's current condition is grave and his supporters have begged Chinese authorities to let him receive medical treatment abroad.

Among those voices are two medical specialists from the United States and Germany who have countered calls saying he is too ill to undergo a trip abroad. The two foreign doctors have joined Chinese counterparts in a medical team formed to offer treatment to Liu.

The First Hospital of China Medical University in northeastern Shenyang province claimed on July 8 that "the transportation process for the patient is not safe." However, the foreign specialists countered the comment that he "can be safely transported with appropriate medical ... care and support."

"However, the medical evacuation would have to take place as quickly as possible," said the two doctors — Joseph Herman of the University of Texas and Markus Buchler, chairman of Heidelberg University's department of surgery — in a statement.

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