Liu Xia, widow of dissident Liu Xiaobo, allowed to leave China

Widow of Nobel dissident Liu Xiaobo has left China

Widow of Nobel dissident Liu Xiaobo has left China

The other source suggested that with Liu Hui still in China, his sister would be less likely to speak out about her treatment by Beijing from overseas.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying, at a regular briefing, said Liu Xia left "in accordance to her own will" for "medical treatment".

Liu Xia was on a Finnair flight bound for Helsinki that left Beijing at around 11 a.m. local time, Ye Du, a writer and friend, told Reuters. "She isn't in the best of health, whether physically or mentally". "And they have taken revenge on her, which is absolutely awful".

Mr Liu died of liver cancer last July while under government custody, prompting fresh global calls for his wife's release.

"When I visited Xiaobo, she wouldn't get involved with our political discussions".

In Hong Kong, pro-democracy activists celebrated at a memorial to Liu Xiaobo adorned with the couple's pictures. Liu Xia chose Xiaobo.

Liu's friends in recent months have said her mental condition has steadily deteriorated, particularly since the death of her husband.

Liu Xia has never been charged with any crime but said in May she was ready to die in protest at her continued detention. In April, she said to a friend in an emotional phone call, "If I can't leave, I'll die in my home..."

Activist Leung Kwok-hung said he was "nearly crying" when he heard that Liu Xia boarded a plane to Germany this morning. I'm grateful for those who cared about her and helped her all these years.

Liu Xia is the daughter of a high-ranking banking official but "gave up her stable life in favor of writing", according to her biography on Amnesty International's website.

He was last arrested for his role in creating Charter 08, a call for political changes in China.

Chinese authorities had consistently maintained Liu was free but imposed severe restrictions on her movement and kept her under constant surveillance. "I hope too that Chinese human rights defenders, their families and lawyers, who have been deprived of their liberty for expressing critical views, will be released".

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert welcomed the decision to release Liu "from house arrest" and allow her to leave China "as she long wished". The first anniversary of Liu Xiaobo's death is Friday.

China has been seeking to bolster its ties with the European Union amid a trade war with the United States. "It also takes the pressure off for the [] anniversary of Liu Xiaobo's death".

"I think the government wanted to try and save face, and 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", Eve said.

Meanwhile, the writers' group Independent Chinese PEN says its members and officers have been targeted by the authorities over their continuing public support for Liu Xia.

Liu's new-found freedom was broadly welcomed by global rights groups and the writers' organization PEN, which tweeted that it was "jubilant" at the news.

In order to achieve all those trade goals, China apparently made concession on human right issues this time.

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

Chinese authorities put her under house arrest in 2010, days after the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded her imprisoned husband the Peace Prize, infuriating the Chinese government.

Liu Xiaobo was arrested on June 23, 2009 and later sentenced to 11 years in jail on the charge of "inciting subversion of state power", a catch-all used to punish many activists. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

Eyewitnesses say he played a crucial role in negotiating a truce between student protesters and People's Liberation Army troops sent in to end the protests at Beijing's Tiananmen Square on the night of June 3-4, 1989, enabling hundreds to leave safely.

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