Liu Xia, widow of Nobel dissident Liu Xiaobo has left China

Lester Mason
July 12, 2018

If the reports that she's been released to Germany are true, it would mark an end to almost a decade of unofficial detention for Liu Xia-who has been kept under strict state surveillance since Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2010.

Berlin-based dissident Liao Yiwu and German Nobel laureate Herta Mueller were among a dozen people waiting to greet her at the airport, shouting out her name from the viewing terrace as she emerged from the aircraft.

But Liu immediately boarded a black van parked on the airfield tarmac and was whisked away without making any remarks. "Finally, finally, Xia is coming today!"

Poon, citing an unnamed source, said Liu had been allowed to leave but her brother, Liu Hui has to remain in Beijing.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel urged the Chinese government to let Liu Xia and her brother leave China for Germany after the death of Liu Xiaobo in July of 2017.

China sentenced Liu Xiaobo in December 2009 to 11 years' imprisonment on charges of inciting subversion of state power after he helped write a manifesto calling for political and economic liberalization.

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.

Qin Yongmin, 64, was first jailed as a "counter-revolutionary" from 1981-1989 and has already spent a total of 22 years in prison.

During a telephone conversation with a friend in April, Liu Xia said she was "prepared to die" under house arrest.

"Neither her mental condition nor her physical condition are ideal". If she wanted to go shopping, she had to be escorted by police, a friend told Reuters.

Semi-autonomous Hong Kong, which enjoys freedoms unmatched on the mainland, is the only place in China where public campaigning for the couple and human rights are tolerated by authorities.

In May, several foreign diplomats who tried to visit Liu at her apartment amid concerns over her health were denied access. A person briefed on the matter said Tuesday, July 10, 2018, that Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, has left China for Europe after eight years under house arrest.

In a letter published a year ago, Liu Xia wrote to a friend that she was "going mad" in her isolation, according to the AFP news agency. Those close to her say she suffers from heart ailments and depression, and has many times asked to leave China.

Liu Hui, Ms Liu's younger brother, told Radio Television Hong Kong they were informed she was able to leave Beijing last week and that he was happy to send his sister off.

The South China Morning Post reported that Liu Xia left for Germany through Finland on Tuesday morning. "Only by taking medication can I fall asleep and stop looking at this painful world", she said, according to Ye.

In one image, Liu is seen spreading her arms and grinning widely.

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

Merkel has spoken out frequently on Chinese human rights abuses and is believed to have pushed for Liu's release during her May visit to Beijing, where she met the wives of detained human rights lawyers.

Analysts however pointed to the forthcoming anniversary of her husband's death as a reason for the timing.

It also comes nearly one year after the death of dissident Liu Xiaobo.

China has been seeking to bolster its ties with the European Union amid a trade war with the United States.

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

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article