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Home / World / China frees the Nobel Peace Prize winner from a house arrest that caused outcry

China frees the Nobel Peace Prize winner from a house arrest that caused outcry

PEKING – China released the widow of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo on Tuesday from house arrest and left for Berlin. This ended an eight-year ordeal that depressed the poet and caused fierce criticism of Beijing's human rights

The release of Liu Xia, who has never been charged with a crime, is the result of years of campaigning by Western governments and activists and comes only for a few days He was serving a term of imprisonment for inciting Subversion before the one-year anniversary of dissident Liu Xiaobo's death.

Liu Hui's brother, Liu Hui, wrote in a social media site, "Sister left Beijing at 1

2:00 to begin her new life, thanks to everyone who helped her in recent years hope from now on that their lives are peaceful and happy. "

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang visits Germany, a country that said in May it would welcome the widow after a recording of her crying in desperation and she Lions close friends Gao Yu, a seasoned journalist in Beijing, and Wu Yangwei, better known by his stage name Ye Du, said that Liu Xia was on a Finnair flight to Berlin who left Tuesday morning. Wu said he spoke to Liu Xia's older brother Liu Tong.

"Liu Xia has been isolated for so many years," Wu said over the phone from the southern city of Guangzhou. "I hope Liu Xia can heal her long-standing trauma and wounds in a free country."

Friends say Liu Xia has expressed a preference for a visit to Germany, where she has a circle of friends of China's dissidents and literary circles. German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets with dissidents on visits to China on a regular basis and has raised the Liu Xia case with Chinese officials, including during a visit in May.

When Liu Xiaobo died, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel pushed the Chinese government to leave Liu Xia and her brother for Germany

In December 2009, Liu Xiaobo sentenced Liu Xiaobo to eleven years in prison for inciting subversion of state power he was involved in a political and economic manifesto Liberalization

Days after the Nobel Committee awarded him the Peace Prize in 2010, the Chinese authorities angered Liu Xia under house arrest. The State Security had guards around the clock outside Liu's Beijing apartment, restricting their access to the Internet and the outside world so that they could only make occasional phone calls with a small circle of friends.

The news of their release was a rare piece Of good news for China's beleaguered community of activists, who were at the center of a crackdown on civil society, lawyers and other independent groups, the government of President Xi Jinping has threatened seen the seizure of power of the ruling Communist Party. The last time a high-ranking political prisoner was allowed to leave China was in 2012, when Beijing allowed blind activist Chen Guangcheng to fly to New York after fleeing house arrest and spent six days at the US Embassy in Beijing had hidden. Some expressed concern over the fate of Liu Hui's brother Liu Hui, who had previously been convicted of fraud and sentenced to jail in a case where his followers saw a form of retaliation against the Nobel Prize winner's attention. This is fantastic news, something "We have all been hoping against hope for a long time," said Hu Jia, a family friend and Beijing activist. "But we are still worried about Liu Hui, who is staying in the country as a guarantee so that Liu Xia does not speak abroad . "

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, confirmed Tuesday that Liu had gone to Germany. She said she" seeks medical treatment on her own. "

China has previously called for Western governments to release Liu criticizes and explains that foreign countries make "inappropriate remarks" about what Beijing is doing as a domestic political issue Officials have also insisted that Liu Xia is a free citizen – a clear contradiction of the local reality, including her friends and people who found guards blocking their visits to her home in Beijing.

Liu's friends In the past few months, her mental condition has steadily deteriorated, especially since her husband's death.

"If I can not go, I'll die at my house," Liu Xia said during a phone conversation with her close friend Liao Yiwu, a writer who documented her conversation in an essay published in May.

"Xiaobo is gone, and there's nothing in the world for me," Liu said in tears. "It's easier to die than to live." Resisting death could not be easier for me. "

Liu told reporters at the Associated Press on an unexpected visit to her home in 2012 that she had expected China would punish her for her husband's Nobel Prize. but she had not expected to be held under "Kafkaesque" house arrest.

Rare pictures of Liu Xia were released by the authorities last year when she provided police detention for Liu Xiaobo in his last days fighting liver cancer in a hospital.

The pale, bespectacled poet, who had a shaved haircut for a long time, appeared haggard and gloomy in most of the pictures. She was portrayed in Liu's tight-fitting funeral dressed in black and wearing dark sunglasses when she clutched a photograph of her husband.

Her husband was just the second Nobel Peace Prize winner to die in police custody, a fact that human rights groups refer to as the ruling party's increasingly harsh line against its critics. The first, Carl von Ossietzky, died of tuberculosis in Germany in 1938, while serving a prison sentence against the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler.

Frances Eve, a researcher for Chinese human rights defenders, said Liu Xia's "long-awaited" dismissal is "easy win" likely to curb criticism of the upcoming anniversary of Liu's death in custody.

"I think the government wanted to try to save face and make it look like it's a law-governed country, everything about its case has been shown to prove that it's not," said Eve. "It was an unwilling symbol of the brutality of China's treatment of human rights activists."


Associated Press author Christopher Bodeen contributed to this report.

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