Liu, China's most prominent political prisoner, is being treated for late-stage liver cancer.
Liu could become the first Nobel Peace Prize laureate to die in custody since German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who passed away in a hospital while held by the Nazis in 1938.
The hospital in the north of the country where Liu, 61, was admitted said in a statement that he had been suffering from a stomach infection, peritonitis, organ dysfunction and septic shock, a critical condition that can lead to death, Efe news reported.
The pessimistic reports from the hospital came after foreign doctors who visited Liu over the weekend concluded it was safe to transport him to another country, contradicting their Chinese counterparts. He was sentenced to 11 years' jail on subversion charges but was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.
China's Nobel Peace Prize winning dissident Liu Xiaobo is receiving emergency treatment for a second day on Tuesday, the hospital treating him said, as questions remain about whether he is well enough to travel overseas.
The latest medical tests were held amid widespread criticism from the global community which was pressuring Beijing to release the Nobel laureate and his wife, Liu Xia, so that they could seek medical treatment overseas.
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In 2008 he was arrested for spearheading Charter 08, a pro-democracy manifesto that called for ending authoritarian rule in China.
The hospital treating Liu says it is providing the best possible care and that he is too ill to be moved. China has accused other countries of politicizing the writer's case and interfering in China's internal affairs.
Ai told The Associated Press in Germany on Wednesday that he has been friends with Liu since the 1980s.
Some of Liu's friends said they were contacted by police on Tuesday.
The state-run Shenyang hospital has been steadily releasing more details on Liu's condition and treatment, revealing that his wife has been staying with him at the hospital and that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners have joined the medical team at the family's request.
After the doctors' Sunday statement, China released short videos of their visit, apparently taken without their knowledge, in which the German doctor appeared to praise the care Liu had received from the Chinese doctors.
The German Embassy in Beijing expressed "deep concern" that the recording was leaked to Chinese state media outlets against the wishes of the German side.