Dissident Liu Xiaobo's widow 'allowed to leave China'

10 July, 2018, 21:24 | Author: Wade Massey

Liu's close friends Gao Yu, a veteran journalist in Beijing, and Wu Yangwei, better known by his pen name Ye Du, said Liu Xia took a Finnair flight to Berlin on Tuesday morning.

Human rights groups are cautiously celebrating Liu Xia's departure from China on Tuesday, as they urge the global community to keep in mind the abuses suffered by her and her late husband, Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo. Liu Xia was seen getting into a vehicle soon after she got off the plane.

When asked if he thought he was being held hostage by the authorities, Liu Hui said he hoped to visit his sister in Germany in the future, but that there were technical issues that must be resolved first. "I'm grateful for those who cared about her and helped her all these year", Liu Hui wrote, according to Ming Pao.

Efforts to secure Liu Xia's departure came amid growing concern over her health and state of mind, after Liao Yiwu, a dissident and friend living in Germany, released details of a telephone conversation in April in which an anguished Liu Xia said she was losing hope of leaving.

Campaigners have called for Liu Xia's release ever since the 57-year-old poet and artist was put under house arrest in 2010, days after her imprisoned husband, Liu Xiaobo, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

As Liu Xia got off a plane in transit at the airport in Helsinki on Tuesday, she spread her arms and grinned widely at a waiting photographer.

He had been sentenced to 11 years in prison on charges of inciting subversion of state power.

Despite a diagnosis of late stage liver cancer and calls from the worldwide community to release him for urgent medical treatment, Liu Xiaobo died at the age of 61 while still imprisoned on July 13, 2017.

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Liu's departure comes a day after Chinese premier Li Keqiang met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

"It's really wonderful that Liu Xia is finally able to leave China after suffering so much all these years". We hope that she is en route to freedom and hopefully a more peaceful life.

Authorities had assigned guards around-the-clock outside Liu's Beijing home and restricted her access to Internet and the outside world, allowing her only occasional phone calls with a small circle of friends.

China's foreign ministry has confirmed that Liu has left the country to seek medical treatment in Germany.

"Liu Xia should have been able to live and grieve freely while her husband was wrongly detained and when he grew ill and died", said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. Now, the harassment of Liu Xia's family who remain in China must end too. Handed an 11-year jail sentence for fraud in 2013, Liu Hui was later released but remained monitored, according to friends of the family.

In this December 6, 2012 photo, Liu Xia, the wife of China's jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, poses with a photo of her and her husband during an interview at her home in Beijing.

Frances Eve, a researcher for Chinese Human Rights Defenders, said Liu Xia's release was likely meant to mute criticism around the anniversary of Liu's death.

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