China controls information about ailing Nobel Prize laureate

A protester displays a portrait of jailed Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo during a demonstration outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong, Tuesday, July 11, 2017. Chinese doctors were working to treat critically ill Liu, as the government hardened its position against growing pleas to allow China's best-known political prisoner to leave for treatment overseas. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

BEIJING (AP) — As China’s government faces mounting international pressure to grant imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo his wish to leave the country for treatment of advanced liver cancer, it’s fighting back with a familiar strategy: information control.

From coordinated leaks of hospital surveillance video to a near-total news blackout for Chinese-language media and social media, the Chinese government’s sprawling propaganda apparatus has revved up efforts to contain the controversy surrounding its most prominent political dissident.

In an update Tuesday afternoon, the hospital treating Liu said he remains in critical condition and is now on dialysis and organ support.

Liu was convicted in 2009 of inciting subversion for his role in the “Charter 08” movement calling for political reform. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a year later while in prison.

Chinese media have hardly mentioned repeated calls by the U.S., the European Union and others for Beijing to let Liu leave on humanitarian grounds. On Tuesday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert again urged China to parole Liu so he can receive medical care at a location of his choosing.

Chinese state media have provided extensive coverage this past week of President Xi Jinping’s recent achievements, especially his travels to Russia and Germany.