Widow of Nobel laureate and dissident Liu Xiaobo leaves China for Germany

Liu Xia the wife of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo talks to the media in Beijing

Liu Xia the wife of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo talks to the media in Beijing

She thanked "all those people that have supported Liu Xiaobo" and "strongly asked" the Chinese government to release the dissident, who died a year ago of liver cancer while on medical parole from an 11-year sentence for "subversion". "If I'm dead, it'll all be done with", she told exiled Chinese writer Liao Yiwu, who released an audio clip of their phone conversation the following month.

Hua said she "could not see any link" between Liu Xia's departure and the high-level Chinese visit.

Liu's release comes as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is visiting Germany, a country that in May said it would welcome the widow after a recording was released of her crying in desperation and indicating she has given up hope of being able to leave China.

"I hope Liu Xia can find some personal peace and restore her health in Germany", said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, who called her fate in recent years "nothing short of tragic".

"It is a tremendous relief that Liu Xia has been able to leave China for freedom overseas", Richardson said in a statement on the HRW website.

Liu Xia is said to be taking medication for clinical depression after years under house arrest.

Close friends Gao Yu, a veteran journalist in Beijing, and Wu Yangwei, better known by his penname Ye Du, said Liu Xia was on a Finnair flight to Berlin that left today morning.

"The Chinese government didn't treat Liu Xia like a human being.at a time that she was already grieving the loss of her husband; they treated her like a chess piece; a gift to Angela Merkel", he said.

"Ever since her late husband received the Nobel Peace Prize while in a Chinese prison, Liu Xia was also unjustly detained".

The news of her release was a rare piece of good news for China's beleaguered community of activists, who have been at the centre of an expansive crackdown on civil society, rights lawyers and other independent groups the administration of President Xi Jinping has deemed a threat to the ruling Communist Party's grip on power.

China's Foreign Ministry later confirmed her departure saying she left the country "by her own free will" for medical treatment, without specifying the ailments, according to spokeswoman Hua Chunying.

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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.

Fellow writers and rights activists welcomed the news of her release on social media on.

She was an effervescent young poet, painter and photographer; he a public intellectual.

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

Frances Eve, a researcher for Chinese Human Rights Defenders, said Liu Xia's release was likely meant to mute criticism around the anniversary of Liu's death.

Based on a series of lengthy statements issued by both China's state news agency, Xinhua, and China's foreign ministry, China achieved fruitful results on trade with Germany.

The authorities' refusal to allow Liu Xiaobo or Liu Xia to leave China at that point prompted an global outcry. The U.S. tally of China's political prisoners stood at more than 1,400 in November.

"It's easier to die than live".

Liu Xiaobo died of liver cancer last July while under government custody, prompting new worldwide calls for Liu Xia's release. "If I can't leave, I'll die in my home". The Chinese authorities have maintained that she has the same rights as all Chinese citizens. He said China's constitution protected human rights.

"Liu Xia never gave up on her wrongfully imprisoned late husband, and for this she was cruelly punished", said Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International, in response to the news Tuesday.

The energy Liu Xiaobo drew from Liu Xia was evident during his plea ahead of the verdict.

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