Widow of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo leaves China

Lester Mason
July 10, 2018

Liu Xia was on a Finnair flight bound for Helsinki that left Beijing at around 11 a.m. (0300 GMT), Ye Du, a writer and friend, told Reuters.

The reports of Liu Xia's departure come as Li wraps up a two-day visit to Germany. Poon, citing an unnamed source, said Liu had been allowed to leave but her brother, Liu Hui has to remain in Beijing.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is in Germany this week. He was due to leave Germany on Tuesday.

Liu Xiaobo died of liver cancer in July 2017 in Chinese custody, having been jailed in 2009 for inciting subversion. Calls to the German embassy in Beijing went unanswered, and the German consulate in Hong Kong didn't immediately respond to queries sent via email.

Liu Xia, who had been under house arrest since her husband won the prize in 2010, took a plane to Berlin, family friends told the BBC.

"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", Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty said in a statement he sent to Al Jazeera. Li met Merkel on Monday to discuss financial and business deals amid the US-China trade war.

It's also a big win for Germany, one of the few countries allowed to send a doctor to China previous year to examine Liu Xiaobo. In May, Germany said it would welcome the widow after a recording was released of her crying in desperation and indicating she was losing hope of leaving China. "It would be most callous of the Chinese authorities to use Liu Xia's relatives to put pressure on Liu Xia to prevent her from speaking out in the future", Poon said. He thanked everyone who had cared for and helped her over the years.

During a telephone conversation with a friend in April, Liu Xia said she was "prepared to die" under house arrest. They say Chinese authorities kept a close watch on her after the death of her husband and she was only allowed to meet and speak to friends and family in pre-arranged phone calls and visits.

A poet, a painter, and a photographer herself, Liu Xia's writings are inward-looking, wrote Ian Johnson, noting that her poems are laden with symbols associated with the struggles of dissidents in China, such as birds and the empty chair that has come to to represent Liu Xiaobo.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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