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LATEST: Liu Xiaobo 'is in critical condition'

Ailing Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo's condition has deteriorated, and his doctors are in an "active rescue" mode, the hospital treating him in northern China said Monday.

Liu is in a critical condition, and his blood pressure has dropped, according to a statement from the First Hospital of China Medical University in Shenyang, where Liu is being treated for terminal cancer under medical parole.

The cancer-induced lesions of his internal organs have spread, and he is suffering from peritonitis, an abdominal inflammation caused by infection that can result in organ failure.

Liu's doctors are monitoring his blood pressure and treating him for infections, the hospital said.

The deterioration in Liu's health comes as the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday repeated that it would not allow him to be transferred abroad for treatment, a desire expressed by Liu and his family, as well as several foreign governments and organizations.

"We hope relevant countries will respect China's judicial sovereignty and not use an individual case to interfere with China's internal affairs," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a press briefing.

Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 for subverting state power and remains under strict supervision at the hospital.

On Saturday, Liu was visited by German and US cancer experts, who said he could safely be transported abroad for treatment. Their assessment contradicted that of the Chinese hospital, which cited an expert as saying that "the transportation process for the patient is not safe."

Friends of Liu have been complaining that the 61-year-old is not receiving the best possible treatment at the hospital in Shenyang, which is a smaller city. The Chinese government put together a team of renowned cancer experts to treat Liu, but they fly in and out of the hospital, and they sometimes offer consultations over the phone, friend and activist Hu Jia said.

Hu said the Chinese government avoided bringing Liu to Beijing as it is preparing for a major party congress there in the autumn.

After the foreign doctors' assessment, the last thing needed to get Liu out of the country was political approval, Hu said – a "key held by [Chinese President] Xi Jinping himself."

Liu is the co-author of a document signed in 2008 by 300 intellectuals, calling for a free, democratic and constitutional Chinese state.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in absentia in 2010 for his work campaigning for human rights in China.

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