China Allows Widow Of Prominent Dissident To Leave The Country

10 July, 2018, 15:25 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Liu Xia the wife of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo talks to the media in Beijing

She took a Finnair flight from Beijing to Berlin at 11:00 local time (03:00 GMT) on Tuesday, a friend, Ye Du, told news agencies. "Liu Xia might not be able to speak much for fear of her brother's safety", Poon said.

Ms Hua said she "could not see any link" between Liu Xia's departure and the high-level Chinese visit.

It's been nearly a year since Nobel peace prize victor, writer, and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo passed away of liver cancer in custody in China, with Beijing rejecting pleas for the dissident to be allowed to travel overseas for treatment.

China reported today (July 10) that she departed Beijing on a Finnair flight to Berlin late Monday night, citing unnamed sources.

Her departure, following a year of pressure on the government from activists and global human rights organizations, comes at the end of a visit to Germany by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. He thanked everyone who had cared for and helped her over the years.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing that Liu Xia had gone to Germany to seek medical treatment in accordance with her wishes.

"I hope she can improve her health condition and adjust her mood ... after leaving here, and then gradually start her new life."

Liu Xiaobo died of liver cancer last July while under government custody, prompting renewed calls for Liu Xia's release. Su Yutong, a family friend based in Germany, also confirmed her departure. She has never been charged with any crime.

Chinese authorities put her under house arrest in 2010, days after the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded her imprisoned husband the Peace Prize, infuriating the Chinese government.

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- "Own free will" - Two men guarded the entrance to Liu's Beijing apartment Tuesday, and questioned anyone who came near.

"It is wonderful news that Liu Xia is finally free and that her persecution and illegal detention at the hands of the Chinese authorities has come to an end, almost one year since Liu Xiaobo's untimely and undignified death".

Ye said he was also very happy for Liu Xia, adding that he hoped she could now make her health a priority.

It's also a big win for Germany, one of the few countries allowed to send a doctor to China past year to examine Liu Xiaobo.

He was sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment on charges of inciting subversion of state power.

Western diplomats and rights groups had earlier hoped to be able to get Liu Hui out of China as well.

Protesters carrying photos of Chinese dissident Liu Xia demonstrate near a flag raising ceremony for China's National Day in Hong Kong, China October 1, 2016.

Western diplomats have said that authorities had continued to closely monitor Liu Xia after the death of her husband and she had only able to meet and speak to friends and family in pre-arranged phone calls and visits.

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