Widow of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo leaves China

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

Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize victor and political dissident Liu Xiaobo, has arrived in the German capital, Berlin.

China is expected to use her brother as a "hostage" to make Liu Xia shy away from criticizing the Chinese government or the ruling Communist Party overseas, some foreign affairs experts say.

But now, Liu Xia is reported to have been allowed to leave China. "Liu Xia might not be able to speak much for fear of her brother's safety", he said.

"My sister has left Beijing to fly to Europe".

"While precise details of Liu's flight out of China are unknown, the only Finnair flight that left Beijing Capital International Airport bound for Berlin on Tuesday morning was Flight AY86, which took off at 10.55am, according to the airport's website". Wu said he spoke to Liu Xia's older brother, Liu Tong. She has never been far from our thoughts, including this spring when dozens of artists and writers joined in literary solidarity with Liu Xia.

"The release of Liu Xia shows that when concerned governments push hard enough, Beijing will back down", Richardson said.

In a rare case of a top Chinese official taking questions about a sensitive matter, Premier Li Keqiang was asked about Liu's case during a briefing as part of a May visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Liu faced daily restrictions on movement and surveillance even after her husband's death, although Chinese authorities maintained she was free.

He had been sentenced to 11 years in prison on charges of inciting subversion of state power.

"The lesson of Liu Xia and her courageous husband, the late Nobel Peace Prize victor Liu Xiaobo, who was murdered by the Communist Chinese regime, is simple yet powerful: darkness fears light and mendacity fears truth, so tyrants can not tolerate either", he continued.

In a letter published previous year, Liu Xia wrote to a friend that she was "going mad" in her isolation, according to the AFP news agency.

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Almost eight years ago, neither Liu nor her husband's supporters foresaw the repercussions the award would have on her: a writer and artist who never considered herself a political person.

It's also a big win for Germany, one of the few countries allowed to send a doctor to China previous year to examine Liu Xiaobo.

The primary doctor responsible for Liu Xiaobo's treatment said at a press conference late Thursday that in the activist's final moments, he told his wife to "live well".

"This is fantastic news, something we have all been hoping against hope for a long time", said Hu Jia, a family friend and Beijing-based activist.

Liu Hui is in China.

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.

China had criticized calls by Western governments for Liu's release as interference in its domestic affairs and insisted that Liu Xia was free.

Western diplomats reportedly tried to visit Mrs Liu at her Beijing flat in May but were refused entry.

"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.

"I want to marry that enemy of the state!" she said shortly before the pair Wednesday in 1996 during Liu Xiaobo's stay at a labour camp, according to a biography of the dissident by Yu Jie.

"Xiaobo is gone, and there's nothing in the world for me now", Liu said tearfully. "It would be easier to die than to live".

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