Widow of Nobel dissident Liu Xiaobo has left China

Liu Xia was never charged but was largely confined to her Beijing home.

She took a Finnair flight from Beijing to Berlin at 11:00 local time (03:00 GMT) on Tuesday, a friend, Ye Du, told news agencies.

Human rights groups are cautiously celebrating Liu Xia's departure from China on Tuesday, as they urge the worldwide community to keep in mind the abuses suffered by her and her late husband, Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo.

Ho told HKFP that the authorities probably thought that, by releasing Liu Xia, they would create a big reaction, but they calculate that it would not last long. According to AP, Liu Xia's brother, Liu Hui, sent his thanks to his sister's supporters via social media.

"My sister left Beijing to fly to Europe this afternoon, to begin her new life". "I'm grateful for all those who cared about and helped her over the years".

Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese Nobel dissident Liu Xiaobo, has left China and is on a plane out of the country.

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Liu Xia's departure was "wonderful news" but harassment of her family remained a risk to her freedom to criticise China, Amnesty International's China researcher Patrick Poon said.

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 while under government custody, prompting renewed calls for Liu Xia's release. He was a writer, critic and activist who called for political reforms and an end to one-party rule in China.

Her younger brother, Liu Hui, is in China. We hope that she is en route to freedom and hopefully a more peaceful life.

News of her departure comes three days before the anniversary of her husband's death. In a May visit to Beijing, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed the Chinese leadership on its human rights record and raised Liu Xia's case directly with China's leader Xi Jinping.

Several Western diplomats tried to visit her at her Beijing apartment in May amid concerns over her psychological health but were refused entry without explanation.

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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.

Liu Xiaobo was a Chinese poet who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

Chinese authorities had consistently maintained Liu was free but imposed severe restrictions on her movement and she was under constant surveillance.

Family friends said that Liu Xia boarded a flight departing from Beijing on Tuesday headed for Berlin, the BBC and the Associated Press report.

"Liu Xia has been kept isolated for so many years", Wu said by phone from the southern city of Guangzhou. During Liu Xiaobo's almost eight years in a Liaoning prison, very little was known about the conditions of his imprisonment.

And 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.

Liu Xia, wife of late Nobel Peace Prize victor , leaves China
Liu Xiaobo had been jailed in 2009 for subversion, for his involvement in Charter 08, a manifesto calling for reforms. On Chinese social media, some are expressing their happiness for her-obliquely, of course, so as to avoid censorship.

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