Liu Xia, wife of late dissident, leaves China for Germany, friend says

2017 during a ceremony for her late husband

China's Foreign Ministry said she had been allowed to leave for "medical treatment in Germany".

Liu Xia, widow of the Chinese dissident and Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, arrived in Helsinki this lunchtime en route to Berlin, ending almost eight years of house arrest in one of the most prominent global human rights cases.

"Human rights concerns remain an irritant in the relationship, that is true, but I am pretty sure that all of the agreements and announcements that resulted from the intergovernmental consultations would also have been made if Liu Xia had not been released", she said.

Liu was awarded the Nobel prize on October 8, 2010.

He died of liver cancer a year ago and his body was buried at sea.

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Liu Xia, who had been under house arrest since her husband won the prize in 2010, took a plane to Berlin, family friends told the BBC.

Liu Xia, the wife of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, talks to the media in Beijing February 11, 2010.

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

Liu's close friends Gao Yu, a veteran journalist in Beijing, and Wu Yangwei, better known by his pen name Ye Du, said Liu Xia was on a Finnair flight to Berlin that left Tuesday morning. "I hope that being in a free country will allow Liu Xia to heal her long-standing traumas and wounds".

Cruz previously authored a resolution honoring the life and work of Liu Xiaobo and in July of previous year, as well as the fall of 2015, delivered speeches calling attention to Liu's plight. After the doctors determined Liu was "fit for travel", the Chinese government restated its previous position that he was too ill to travel overseas for treatment.

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USA and German officials have pushed hard for Liu Xia's release, with Trump and Merkel separately raising the issue privately several times to the Chinese president, according to knowledgeable sources. "The Chinese authorities tried to silence her, but she stood tall for human rights".

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.

"We are disturbed by reports of the deteriorating health of 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.

The couple's supporters often say that Liu Xia, who has never been formally charged, is guilty of nothing but the "crime" of being Liu Xiaobo's wife.

Analysts said the gesture was linked to Beijing's desire for help from Europe to counter United States trade protectionist measures. The statement was also endorsed by David Kaye, special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression.

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Chinese officials told reporters Liu Xia was free to do what she wished, but authorities banned Western diplomats from visiting her. On Aug. 2, the U.N. Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances filed a complaint denouncing the multiple violations of worldwide law in her case.

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