Liu Xia, wife of late Nobel Peace Prize victor, leaves China

Elias Hubbard
July 11, 2018

Liu Xia, widow of the Chinese dissident and Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, arrived in Helsinki this lunchtime en route to Berlin, ending almost eight years of house arrest in one of the most prominent worldwide human rights cases.

China is expected to use her brother as a "hostage" to make Liu Xia shy away from criticizing the Chinese government or the ruling Communist Party overseas, some foreign affairs experts say.

Poon, citing an unnamed source, said Liu had been allowed to leave but her brother, Liu Hui has to remain in Beijing. Thanks to everyone who has helped and cared for her these few years. "She is flying to Europe to start her life anew", he said.

But for nearly a year that wish has remained out of reach, as she has remained under house arrest in her residential compound in Beijing, where friends said she was losing her will to live.

Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese Nobel dissident Liu Xiaobo, has left China and is on a plane out of the country. Wu said he spoke to Liu Xia's older brother, Liu Tong.

"The release of Liu Xia shows that when concerned governments push hard enough, Beijing will back down", Richardson said.

When Liu Xiaobo died, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel urged the Chinese government to let Liu Xia and her brother leave the country for Germany.

He had been sentenced to 11 years in 2009 on subversion charges.

Liu's release was rare good news for China's beleaguered community of activists, who have been the focus of an expansive crackdown on civil society, rights lawyers and other independent groups the administration of President Xi Jinping deems a threat to the ruling Communist Party's grip on power. After the doctors determined Liu was "fit for travel", the Chinese government restated its previous position that he was too ill to travel overseas for treatment. Su Yutong, a family friend based in Germany, also confirmed her departure.

Liu Hui is in China.

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

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.

Officials have also insisted that Liu Xia was free to move around - a clear contradiction of the reality on the ground, according to her friends and people who encountered guards blocking their attempts to visit her at her home in Beijing.

As soon as Liu Xia returned home from visiting her husband in prison that month, she was confined in her duplex, fifth-floor apartment in Beijing and denied access to a phone and the internet.

"I want to marry that enemy of the state!" she said shortly before the pair Wednesday in 1996 during Liu Xiaobo's stay at a labour camp, according to a biography of the dissident by Yu Jie.

Cruz previously authored a resolution honoring the life and work of Liu Xiaobo and in July of past year, as well as the fall of 2015, delivered speeches calling attention to Liu's plight.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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