Beijing has hit back at Washington for “irresponsible remarks” after the US criticised its treatment of Chinese Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, according to BBC.
The political activist, who is serving an 11 year term on subversion charges for calling for greater democracy, has been moved to hospital after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.
His wife Liu Xia, who is under house arrest, says it is beyond treatment.
The US has called on China to give the couple “genuine freedom”.
“We call on the Chinese authorities to not only release Mr Liu but also to allow his wife Ms Liu Xia out of house arrest,” US embassy spokeswoman Mary Beth Polley said.
Some American politicians have also called on China to allow the dissident, a key leader in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, to travel overseas for medical help.
But Chinese foreign spokesman Lu Kang criticised the calls, saying: “China is a country with rule of law. Everyone is equal before the law. All other countries should respect China’s judicial independence and sovereignty and should not use any so-called individual case to interfere in China’s internal affairs.”
Mr Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, with the Nobel committee describing the jailed dissident as “the foremost symbol” of the human rights struggle in China.
He was not allowed to collect his prize and was represented at the awards ceremony by an empty chair. The Chinese government, which regards him as a criminal, was infuriated by the award.
Following the award, Mrs Liu was placed under house arrest, although she was never charged with a crime. The Chinese authorities have never explained why they restricted her movements.
According to friends, Mrs Liu has been allowed to visit her husband, who is being treated in hospital in northern Liaoning Province after being diagnosed a month ago.