Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

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

Albert Ho Albert Ho
Jeannette Daniel | 10 July, 2018, 14:18

Her friends said she left China on board a Finnair flight bound for Germany on Tuesday.

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.

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

Johnny Lau, a political commentator based in Hong Kong, said he believed the authorities had let her leave in order to avoid her case sparking a "surge" of pressure on China around the July 13 anniversary of Liu Xiaobo's death.

The widow of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize victor Liu Xiaobo has been allowed to leave the country, boarding a flight for Germany, reports say.

A friend of Liu Xia told Reuters in May that she was losing hope of leaving the country.

China has maintained that Liu Xia was free and accorded all rights guaranteed to her by law.

The South China Morning Post reported that Liu Xia left for Germany through Finland on Tuesday morning.

Western diplomats reportedly tried to visit Mrs Liu at her Beijing flat in May but were refused entry. "China hopes to team up with Germany against the United States", he said.

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

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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. The Post says he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed her release on medical grounds.

He said China's constitution protected human rights.

The reports of Liu Xia's departure come as Li wraps up a two-day visit to Germany.

Germany, which is also home to dissident artist Ai Weiwei, has been outspoken on rights in China.

It's also a big win for Germany, one of the few countries allowed to send a doctor to China previous year to examine Liu Xiaobo.

"Now, the harassment of Liu Xia's family who remain in China must end too".

But China has lambasted calls for her release, saying it was an internal matter.

Western diplomats, however, disagree.

After years of living under house arrest Liu Xia suffers from clinical depression and her friends said last year that she required medication just to be able to sleep at night.

"Hopefully she will be able to recuperate and receive much needed medical care, but China is effectively holding her brother hostage so she may not speak out about her ordeal".

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