Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

China Frees Wife of Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Albert Ho Albert Ho
Ellis Copeland | 12 July, 2018, 16:21

A poet, a painter, and a photographer herself, Liu Xia's writings are inward-looking, wrote Ian Johnson, noting that her poems are laden with symbols associated with the struggles of dissidents in China, such as birds and the empty chair that has come to to represent Liu Xiaobo. "Sister has already left Beijing for Europe at noon to start her new life".

In April, Liu Xia said she was "prepared to die" under house arrest, during a telephone conversation with her friend Liao Yiwu, an exiled writer.

She left China on Tuesday for Berlin, Germany, her brother Liu Hui said in a message to friends shared with CNN.

US -based dissident Yang Jianli tweeted that "Liu Xia has found her freedom among the clouds, tens of thousands of feet up in the sky".

"Liu Xia has been suffering from depression and under tight surveillance for so many years", he said.

The couple's supporters often say that Liu Xia, who has never been formally charged, is guilty of nothing but the "crime" of being Liu Xiaobo's wife.

Exiled dissident Wu'er Kaixi, speaking in Taipei, told AFP he was "glad" Liu Xia could leave China but also voiced concerns about her brother. On the same visit, at a joint press conference with Merkel, Chinese premier Li Keqiang said China was prepared to discuss "relevant individual cases" with Germany.

China sentenced Liu Xiaobo in December 2009 to 11 years imprisonment on charges of inciting subversion of state power after he helped write a manifesto calling for political and economic liberalization.

Days after the Nobel Committee awarded him the Peace Prize in 2010, infuriating Beijing, Chinese authorities put Ms Liu under house arrest.

She was cut off from friends and family at her home in Beijing, with guards preventing a Sky crew from visiting.

Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest since 2010, left China to receive "medical treatment according to her own will", foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

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Merkel has spoken out frequently on Chinese human rights abuses and is believed to have pushed for Liu's release during her May visit to Beijing, where she met the wives of detained human rights lawyers.

That prompted Western governments, including Germany and the United States, to renew their calls for Beijing to release Liu Xia.

Liu is a poet and artist.

Liu's late husband, Liu Xiaobo was a renowned writer and activist.

"Liu Xia might not be able to speak much for fear of her brother's safety", Poon said.

A trade war has also broken out between China and the United States.

Liu Xiaobo was only the second Nobel Peace Prize victor to die in police custody, and human rights group say that shows the Communist Party's increasingly hard line.

Despite a diagnosis of late stage liver cancer and calls from the worldwide community to release him for urgent medical treatment, Liu Xiaobo died at the age of 61 while still imprisoned on July 13, 2017. "China hopes to team up with Germany", Mr Lau said. Instead, Liu Xia had to separately paste two photos of her and him on the document.

"It's easier to die than live". "But we still fear for Liu Hui, who is being kept in the country as a guarantee so that Liu Xia does not speak out overseas". The U.S. tally of China's political prisoners stood at more than 1,400 in November. "Nothing would be simpler for me than dying in defiance". "We couldn't save Liu Xiaobo, which is a regret that I will carry for the rest of my life, and we wouldn't have been able to bear it if anything had happened to his widow".

Those who signed the statement included: Bernard Duhaime, chair-rapporteur of the U.N. Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Seong-Phil Hong, chair-rapporteur of the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; and Michel Forst, the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

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