Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

China: Nobel Laureate's Widow Released

Jeannette Daniel | 10 July, 2018, 21:24

Liu Xia, 57, an artist, photographer, and poet, was never charged with a crime.

However, some anxious she may not feel safe to speak about her life in China over the past decade, since her brother still lives in Beijing. Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post later said it had also independently confirmed her departure.

Liu Xia's friend, meanwhile, told Kyodo News that she wanted to leave China together with her younger brother, but that was not permitted. "She will start a new life and is grateful for all the people who have cared for her and helped her", her brother Liu Hui posted on WeChat.

Ye said he was also very happy for Liu Xia, adding that he hoped she could now make her health a priority.

China has allowed the widow of the late Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Liu Xiaobo, to leave the country following almost eight years under de facto house arrest.

Liu Xiaobo was sentenced in 2009 on charges of inciting subversion of state power after he co-authored a manifesto calling for political change in China.

Liu Xiaobo died of liver cancer last July aged 61. He was a writer, critic and activist who called for political reforms and an end to one-party rule in China. On the same visit, at a joint press conference with Merkel, Chinese premier Li Keqiang said China was prepared to discuss "relevant individual cases" with Germany.

"The release of Liu Xia shows that when concerned governments push hard enough, Beijing will back down", Richardson said. "I hope that being in a free country will allow Liu Xia to heal her long-standing traumas and wounds".

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She has been under de-facto house arrest since 2010 after her husband, Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel peace prize in absentia for his activism in China. The country has been raising human rights issues and the situation of Liu Xia on multiple occasions with China, a major trade partner and investor.

In May, Western diplomats tried to visit her in her home, but were turned away by security personnel, an official of one of the embassies involved told Reuters at the time.

Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest since 2010, left China to receive "medical treatment according to her own will", foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

Liu faced daily restrictions on movement and surveillance even after her husband's death, although Chinese authorities maintained she was free.

In this December 6, 2012 photo, Liu Xia, the wife of China's jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, poses with a photo of her and her husband during an interview at her home in Beijing. Throughout his hospitalization, authorities closely guarded Liu and only once allowed two independent foreign doctors to have access to Liu a week before his death. Handed an 11-year jail sentence for fraud in 2013, Liu Hui was later released but remained monitored, according to friends of the family.

But concerns remain about her brother Liu Hui, who is still in Beijing.

"Liu Xia has been kept isolated for so many years", Wu said by phone from the southern city of Guangzhou.

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