Liu Xia, the widow of late Chinese Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, arrived in Germany on Tuesday after growing international pressure for her release from eight years of house arrest, an extrajudicial confinement that took a huge toll on her physical and mental health.
“Liu Xia … left Beijing at noon on a Finnair flight from Beijing to Berlin,” veteran political journalist Gao Yu said via Twitter on Tuesday.
“Sources say that this is the result of Li Keqiang’s acquiescing in person to a request by the German chancellor Angela Merkel during his visit to Germany,” Gao wrote.
Liu Xia, who had been held under house arrest and residential surveillance ever since her husband’s Nobel Peace Prize was announced in October 2010, was photographed grinning broadly with outstretched arms as she made a stopover in Helsinki, en route to Germany.
“The deaths of our mother, father and then her husband in the course of just two years had a massive impact on her health,” Liu’s brother Liu Hui told RFA after her departure. “She isn’t in the best of health, whether physically or mentally.”
“I hope that the first thing she’ll be able to do is take care of her physical and mental health, then gradually start her new life,” he said.
Her release by the ruling Chinese Communist Party came three days ahead of the anniversary of Liu Xiaobo’s death in a prison hospital from late-stage liver cancer.
Full story: rfa.org
Reported by Ng Yik-tung and Sing Man for RFA’s Cantonese Service, and by Shi Shan for the Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.
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