Liu, 61, was moved from a prison in northeast China to a cancer treatment center in Shenyang, Liaonong province. He was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer on May 23 and given medical parole, Mo Shaoping, his lawyer, said.
Mo said Liu requested to be treated outside of prison, and that the request was approved.
Liu was a lecturer at Beijing State University and a prominent figure in student free speech protests of Beijing and other Chinese cities in 1989. He was noted for his impassioned pro-democracy speeches, and started a hunger strike prior to the Chinese military involvement in crushing the movement at Tiananmen Square. During that incident, he negotiated a peaceful retreat from the public square and is credited with saving many lives, The New York Times reported.
His involvement in the uprising brought him a 21-month jail term. In 2008, he helped compose a petition, called "Charter 08" and later signed by hundreds of scholars and activists. It called for Chinese political liberalization, and brought Liu a 15-year prison sentence for "inciting subversion of state power."
He was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize for Peace, for what the Nobel committee termed "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China." He was not present to receive the award in Oslo and was represented by an empty chair.