Widow of Nobel laureate and dissident Liu Xiaobo leaves China for Germany

Liu Xia

The Chinese government permitted Liu Xia, the widow of dissident Liu Xiaobo, to board a plane to Germany on the morning of July 10, 2018, almost a year to the day since her husband's death, Human Rights Watch said today.

Liu's 11-year prison sentence and his wife's subsequent detention in her home had become glaring symbols of the authoritarian government's determination to prevent the couple from becoming an inspiration to other Chinese. "I'm grateful for those who cared about her and helped her all these year", Liu Hui wrote, according to Ming Pao. Her forced solitude was an emblem of Chinese cruelty toward a wife whose husband was ripped away from her for the crime of expressing his views, and then-nearly exactly a year ago-allowed to die in prison while denied access to potentially lifesaving medical treatment overseas.

Chinese authorities had consistently maintained Liu was free but imposed severe restrictions on her movement and she was under constant surveillance.

Patrick Poon, a Hong Kong-based researcher at Amnesty International, said he hopes the widow's apparent release assuages the mental anguish she is reported to have endured.

Rights groups and Western nations had been raising pressure on Beijing over Liu Xia in recent months, as fears grew among rights groups that she might never be able to leave and live overseas, a wish she had made clear.

Beijing's decision to allow long-suffering Chinese artist and poet Liu Xia to fly to Germany after years of house arrest is a gesture of goodwill as it seeks to firm up ties with Berlin, observers said.

The Chinese-language report said Liu Xia was aboard a Finnair flight that departed from Beijing at 11 a.m. (0300 GMT).

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Her journey comes after the United States and European Union have repeatedly urged President Xi Jinping to allow the widow to leave the country, asserting she had never been charged with a crime. "It's easier to die than live". "But we still fear for Liu Hui, who is being kept in the country as a guarantee so that Liu Xia does not speak out overseas".

China has previously criticized calls by Western governments for Liu's release, saying that foreign countries were making "improper remarks" over what Beijing sees as a domestic affair. The first anniversary of Liu Xiaobo's death is Friday. "Using death to defy could not be any simpler for me".

Germany has been pushing China to let Liu leave following the death of her husband on July 13, 2017, from liver cancer at the age of 61 while in custody, Western diplomats have said.

"It's been quite a positive outcome on both Germany and China's sides. the timing and everything, that Li Keqiang is leaving today and Liu Xia arrives today. you don't want to have it where they're on the soil at the same time".

"I think the government wanted to try and save face, and make it seem as though it is a country ruled according to law when everything about her case has shown demonstrably that it is not", Eve said.

Several well-known human rights activists and global humanitarian organizations have condemned the Chinese government's treatment of Liu Xia.

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