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China’s jailed Nobel Peace laureate given medical parole

Didi Tang, Associated Press

Updated 11:52 am, Monday, June 26, 2017

Photo: Kin Cheung, AP

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FILE – In this Dec. 5, 2010 file photo, a police officer stands guard beside a picture of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo outside the Chinese government liaison office in Hong Kong. Jailed Chinese Nobel peace laureate Liu has been released on medical parole after being diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer, his lawyer said Monday, June 26, 2017. FILE – In this Dec. 6, 2012 file photo, Liu Xia, wife of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, poses with a photo of her and her husband during an interview at her home in Beijing. Jailed Chinese Nobel peace laureate and dissident Liu has been released on medical parole after being diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer, his lawyer said Monday, June 26, 2017. Mo Shaoping, the former lawyer of Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, speaks during an interview in his law offices in Beijing, Monday, June 26, 2017. Jailed Chinese Nobel Peace laureate and dissident Liu has been transferred to a hospital following a diagnosis of late-stage liver cancer, Mo said Monday.

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BEIJING (AP) Imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate and dissident Liu Xiaobo[7] has been transferred to a hospital after being diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer, his former lawyer said Monday. The deteriorating health of China’s best-known political prisoner was immediately met with dismay by the country’s beleaguered community of rights activists and lawyers, who called it a blow to the democracy movement. Liu, 61, is receiving treatment at a hospital in the northeastern city of Shenyang, lawyer Mo Shaoping[8] told The Associated Press[9]. Liu was diagnosed on May 23 and prison authorities then gave him a medical parole, though it was not clear exactly when he was transferred to the hospital, Mo said.

Liu, a literary critic and China’s most prominent democracy campaigner, was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 after being convicted of inciting state subversion for writing and disseminating Charter ’08, a manifesto calling for an end to single-party rule. The following year, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize by the Norway-based Nobel committee[10], which cheered China’s fractured, persecuted dissident community and brought calls from the U.S., Germany and others for Liu’s release, but also infuriated Beijing. In April, Beijing finally normalized relations with Oslo after a six-year hiatus. The Liaoning Provincial Prison Administrative Bureau[11], which oversees the prison where Liu was incarcerated, confirmed in a statement on its website Monday that Liu had received a medical parole. It said the China Medical University No. 1 Affiliated Hospital[12] in Shenyang formed a team of eight nationally known experts in the field of tumors that drew up a treatment plan for Liu.

It was unclear exactly what treatment Liu was receiving but as of 10 days ago his condition was stable, Mo said, citing Liu’s family. He noted, however, that medical parole is only granted to prisoners who are gravely ill and unable to be treated at the prison’s medical facilities. Mo said Liu was likely to be closely guarded at the hospital in Shenyang and unable to receive visits from friends or return home. “Normally, most people will be allowed to go home, or to be with their families, or hospitals, but Liu Xiaobo is a special case,” Mo said.

“I don’t think he will be allowed to meet with people other than close relatives,” he added. Mo said he believed Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, had traveled to the city. At Liu’s apartment building in Beijing, AP journalists were accosted Monday by half a dozen plainclothes and other security officers and physically blocked from going beyond the first floor.

Geng Shuang[13], a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said Monday he was not aware of the latest development in Liu’s case.

The news of Liu’s diagnosis shocked and saddened fellow human rights activists who have admired the sacrifices Liu and his wife have made in the hope of achieving peaceful political change. Activists have also been alarmed by Liu Xia’s gradual descent into depression after the soft-spoken poet and artist was forcibly sequestered by state security at home during her husband’s imprisonment.

“It’s known that Liu Xiaobo and his family have made a tremendous sacrifice for the cause of freedom and democracy in China,” said Shanghai-based legal scholar Zhang Xuezhong[14]. “This is unfortunate news for him and his family, and it’s a blow to China’s democracy movement, as so many people have placed hope in him, and rightfully so.”

Zhang said no effort should be spared in treating Liu, and his family must be fully informed of his treatment plans. “His life is so important that I think he should get the best possible treatment with full knowledge of his family, even if his family has to make agreements” with the government, Zhang said. Guo Yuhua, a professor of sociology at the elite Tsinghua University[15] in Beijing, said she was angered by the news. “Those with conscience have given so much to this country, yet they are persecuted by the totalitarian rule,” she told AP. “Those who have done evil will sooner or later be held accountable, and written into the history to be spat on forever.”

She urged Beijing to provide the best medical treatment for Liu and facilitate his travel if he and his family wish to seek treatment outside China. “Life and dignity should be first and foremost in this case,” Guo said. In Washington, Liu’s international lawyer, Jared Genser[16], said he was deeply concerned by the circumstances of the dissident’s parole.

“It is unconscionable that the government neglected Dr. Liu’s health, despite repeated calls from the international community to ensure proper care. The Chinese authorities must provide Liu Xiaobo open access to his counsel and to the international community so that his wishes at this difficult time can be ascertained and honored,” he said in a statement.

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Associated Press journalists Isolda Morillo[17] and Mark Schiefelbein[18] contributed to this report.

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Latest deployments to Middle East a source of pride, worry for …

Latest Deployments To Middle East A Source Of Pride, Worry For ...

Gov. Chris Sununu talks with Master Sgt. T.J. Hackett, left, and his son, Senior Airman Travis Hackett, as the two prepare to deploy to the Middle East next month. (Courtesy of Staff Sgt. Curtis Lenz)

Latest Deployments To Middle East A Source Of Pride, Worry For ... An airman with the New Hampshire Air National Guard’s 157th Security Forces Squadron listens during a ceremony Sunday to honor him and 28 other airmen who will deploy to the Middle East next month. (Jason Schreiber)
NEWINGTON Master Sgt. T.J. Hackett of Durham hopes he has a chance to catch up with his son when both are deployed to the Middle East next month.

The 55-year-old Hackett is with the New Hampshire Air National Guard s 157th Security Forces Squadron; his son, Travis, 22, is deployed to the region as a senior airman with the 91st Missile Security Forces Squadron from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. The father and son were together Sunday for a ceremony recognizing the 29 airmen from the 157th Security Forces Squadron based at Pease Air National Guard Base as they prepare for the upcoming deployment, which will involve providing security at six air bases throughout the region. The younger Hackett said he learned that he would be heading out on a six-month deployment about two weeks after his dad found out that he would be deployed on the same day for the same length of time.

We ll probably see each other in transit when we re flying to whichever location he s going to or I m going to, Travis said.

The dual deployments won t be easy for Christine Hackett, a teacher at Oyster River Middle School who will be thinking of her husband and only child every day and hoping for their safe return.

I know that both of them have wanted to go. I know that it s something that they re very passionate about. I m very proud of them, but at the same time I think it s going to be a long six months, she said.

She s as much of a warrior as we are, said T. J. Hackett, a retired New Hampshire State Police trooper. The sacrifice made by the military families left at home was mentioned by several who spoke at Sunday s ceremony, including military leaders and Gov. Chris Sununu, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Congressman Annie Kuster. The ceremony also celebrated the 281 airmen from the 157th Air Refueling Wing who have deployed this year.

When you think about it, most families in America are waking up and figuring out, Are we going to go to the lake? Are we going to go to the ocean? Are we going to have a barbecue today? Not many of them are saying goodbye to a loved one to go to war, said Major Gen. William Reddel III, adjutant general of the New Hampshire National Guard.

Reddel said it was important to hold the ceremony to remind people that the nation is still at war.

Aug. 2, 1990. That s when this unit started to go to war and we haven t stopped yet, he said, referring to U.S. military operations during the Gulf War and in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now the war on ISIS. Next month s deployment will be the fourth for some members of the unit.

Our nation has made extraordinary demands on you and your families, Shaheen said. Sgt. Andrew Ducharme, 23, of Weare, is one of the 29 airmen deploying next month. It will be his first deployment.

He said he s excited about the opportunity, but admitted that it will be difficult to be away from his family.

It will be a good experience and a good building block, he said. Ducharme was joined by his family, including his grandmother, Annette Ducharme, 75, of Amherst.

I m feeling sad, but I m proud of him and I m thankful that there are young men and women who are willing to sacrifice for us because that s why we have our freedom, she said. Technical Sgt. Jared McGouldrick, 35, of Belgrade, Maine, will leave behind his wife, Caitlin, and 3-year-old son, Colin.

I ve got a lot going on right now. I m trying to get everything buttoned up for my civilian job before I head out the door, he said.

His wife said their son is really too young to understand what s happening, but they had a pillow made with his dad s picture on it to remind Colin of his father.

We re just trying to talk to him about how daddy s going to leave and daddy s at work. It s going to be tough, but you ve gotta do what you ve gotta do, she said.

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Man gives police confusing account of being beat up and robbed near Coligny Plaza

An intoxicated man told police that after leaving a bar near Coligny Plaza on Hilton Head Island Tuesday he was attacked and robbed by an unknown group of suspects but couldn t remember certain facts and seemed confused by other questions, a Beaufort County Sheriff s Office report says. The Ohio man said he was knocked to the ground where he was kicked and punched, the report states. He also said he was robbed of his wallet containing $500 or maybe $380, an iPhone and credit cards. Police did note several lacerations and abrasions on the mans face, legs, arms, feet and hands. Details such as exact locations and time frames were difficult for the man to answer, the police report states.

Police talked with several businesses and their patrons in the area following the report. When talking with a manager at a nearby convenience store they learned that a phone had been turned into that location. An off duty security guard turned the phone in at the convenience store after he said he asked a man matching the description of the Ohio victim if he was alright, the report states. The report states the man matching the victim s description ran off, dropping his phone in the road in the process. Police were able to confirm that the phone was the Ohio victim s phone and returned it to him. Police questioned the victim a second time about the incident but due to intoxication the man still was unable to provide many details, the report states.