Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

China's Nobel winner's widow Liu Xia leaves Beijing for Germany

Widow of Nobel dissident Liu Xiaobo has left China Dissident Liu Xiaobo's widow 'allowed to leave China'
Jeannette Daniel | 11 July, 2018, 01:59

"Liu Xia should have been able to live and grieve freely while her husband was wrongly detained and when he grew ill and died", said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch.

A poet, a painter, and a photographer herself, Liu Xia's writings are inward-looking, wrote Ian Johnson, noting that her poems are laden with symbols associated with the struggles of dissidents in China, such as birds and the empty chair that has come to to represent Liu Xiaobo.

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.

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.

The Chinese government has not taken any responsibility for Liu Xiaobo's death or Liu Xia's illness.

Several expressed concerns about the fate of Liu's brother, Liu Hui, who has previously been convicted of fraud and sentenced to jail in a case supporters said was a form of retaliation against the attention the Nobel laureate was getting. "It would be most callous of the Chinese authorities to use Liu Xia's relatives to put pressure on Liu Xia to prevent her from speaking out in future".

"My sister has left Beijing to fly to Europe".

Ms Liu was never charged but was largely confined to her Beijing home. "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". Her brother, Liu Hui, was not on the plane, they said.

"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.

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"Liu Xia never gave up on her wrongfully imprisoned late husband, and for this she was cruelly punished", said Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International, in response to the news Tuesday.

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

Memorial events to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Liu Xiaobo's death on Friday are planned in cities around the world including Hong Kong, Taipei and Berlin.

China had criticized calls by Western governments for Liu's release as interference in its domestic affairs and insisted that Liu Xia was free. His wife was put under de facto house arrest nearly immediately after he was awarded his Nobel in 2010.

Liu Xiaobo died of liver cancer last July while under government custody, prompting new global calls for Liu Xia's release.

The pale, bespectacled poet, who had long sported a shaved haircut, appeared gaunt and somber in most of the images.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is in Germany this week.

Eve said the government sought to "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". "She has been an unwilling symbol of the brutality of China's treatment of human rights activists".

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