Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Dissident Liu Xiaobo's widow 'allowed to leave China'

Dissident Liu Xiaobo's widow 'allowed to leave China'

China has allowed the widow of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo to be freed from house arrest and leave for Berlin. "Liu Xia has been kept isolated for so many years", said Wu by phone from the southern city of Guangzhou. "The Chinese authorities tried to silence her, but she stood tall for human rights". "I hope that being in a free country will allow Liu Xia to heal her long-standing traumas and wounds". Her release comes after years of campaigning by Western governments and activists.

Liu Xiaobo's prison sentence turned out to be for life.

However, Poon voiced concern for Liu Xia's brother Liu Hui who is still in China and said she "might not be able to speak much for fear of her brother's safety". Thanks to everyone who has helped and cared for her these few years.

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. A person briefed on the matter said Tuesday, July 10, 2018, that Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, has left China for Europe after eight years under house arrest. "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 the future", Poon said.

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

In Hong Kong, pro-democracy activists celebrated at a memorial to Liu Xiaobo adorned with the couple's pictures. He was charged with inciting subversion of state power after he helped write a manifesto calling for political and economic liberalization.

Liu has been held under de facto house arrest - despite no charges - since 2010, when her husband received the Nobel Peace Prize, in a move that angered Beijing. Ye said he was informed of Liu's departure by her older brother.

Chinese activists have been at the center of a crackdown by the government on groups the government considers a threat to the ruling Communist Party. The last time a famous political prisoner was permitted to leave China was in 2012.

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News outlets reported she was constantly monitored and unable to leave her house on her own.

Several people expressed concern about Liu's brother, Liu Hui, who was accused of fraud and sentenced to jail.

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

Officials at the German embassy in Beijing did not confirm the news when contacted by Reuters and referred questions to the German Foreign Office in Berlin. "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".

The Chinese government has criticized calls by Western governments for Liu's release, saying that foreign countries were making "improper remarks" over local issues.

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

This February during the Lunar New Year holiday, Liu Xia and her brother Liu Hui were visited by a top official from the Ministry of Public Security, trusted by President Xi Jinping, who suggested she could be freed after the annual legislative session the following month, sources told the South China Morning Post earlier. It is the last time she is seen in public for nearly a year, during which time she is held in Beijing under de facto house arrest.

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