Liu Xia, wife of late China dissident Liu Xiaobo, left for Berlin

Blanche Robertson
July 11, 2018

"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".

Beijing has always insisted that she is a free citizen.

Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize-winning political dissident Liu Xiaobo, left China for Germany on Tuesday, a move welcomed by rights groups that had long pressed for her release from what was effectively house arrest.

Her departure, following months of pressure from activists and global human rights organizations, comes at the end of a visit to Germany by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. He died a year ago Friday of liver cancer.

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.

Liu Hui also confirmed his sister's departure on a social media site.

"While Liu Xia is free, our work is not complete", he said.

Patrick Poon from Amnesty International said it was "really wonderful that Liu Xia is finally able to leave China after suffering so much all these years".

Shortly after the Nobel announcement, Liu, 57, was placed under effective house arrest, where she remained under heavy surveillance and control until her stunning release on Tuesday.

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But China Human Rights Defenders researcher Frances Eve said Liu's release was an "easy win" for China.

"Xiaobo is gone, and there's nothing in the world for me now", Liu said tearfully.

The primary doctor responsible for Liu Xiaobo's treatment said at a press conference late Thursday that in the activist's final moments, he told his wife to "live well". 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.

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

In May, dozens of the world's leading writers and artists, from Michael Chabon to Paul Auster and Khaled Hosseini, called on China to release her to seek medical treatment overseas.

Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia. "She is reportedly physically restricted at an unknown location and suffers from severe psychological distress", the experts said, referring to several recent audio recordings that were released in May in which she pleads for help.

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. While in Beijing in May, German chancellor Angela Merkel met with the wife of a detained human rights lawyer. The statement was also endorsed by David Kaye, special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression.

"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".

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