Liu Xia, wife of late China dissident, arrives in Berlin

Liu Xia, wife of late China dissident, arrives in Berlin

The Chinese government has released Liu Xia, the widow of world-renowned poet and political prisoner Liu Xiaobo, from house arrest after renewed worldwide pressure from human rights activists.

Her late husband, Liu Xiaobo, died of cancer in July 2017 after spending more than eight years in prison for his advocacy of human rights in China.

She was reunited with Liu Xiaobo in late June a year ago at a Shenyang hospital after the pro-democracy campaigner was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and released from jail on medical parole.

Others said Beijing might be trying to curry favour with Western powers ahead of an EU-China summit next week, as China needs Europe in the trade battle with the United States.

"[Liu Xia's] forced solitude was an emblem of Chinese cruelty toward a wife whose husband was ripped away from her for the crime of expressing his views, and then-nearly exactly a year ago-allowed to die in prison while denied access to potentially lifesaving medical treatment overseas", PEN America's Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Nossel said in a statement on the group's website. Chinese officials told reporters Liu Xia was free to do what she wished, but authorities banned Western diplomats from visiting her.

Patrick Poon from Amnesty International said it was "really wonderful that Liu Xia is finally able to leave China after suffering so much all these years".

"Ever since her late husband received the Nobel Peace Prize while in a Chinese prison, Liu Xia was also unjustly detained". Handed an 11-year jail sentence for fraud in 2013, Liu Hui was later released but remained monitored, according to friends of the family.

"I'm in a sea of joy", said veteran activist Leung Kwok-hung, also known as Long Hair, as he drank from a bottle of wine and gave a toast to Liu Xiaobo.

He pledged to continue "to shine a light on the Communist regime's abuses" and urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to release the thousands of political prisoners who remain jailed or can not leave China, including Liu Xia's brother Liu Hui. Mr Wu said he spoke to Ms Liu's older brother, Liu Tong.

In an emotional phone call with Liao recently, Liu said, "They should add a line to the constitution: "Loving Liu Xiaobo is a serious crime - it's a life sentence".

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The reports of Liu Xia's departure come as Li wraps up a two-day visit to Germany.

Her journey comes after the United States and European Union have repeatedly urged President Xi Jinping to allow the widow to leave the country, asserting she had never been charged with a crime.

Liu's friends in recent months have said her mental condition has increasingly declined, especially since the death of her husband.

It is believed Liu Xia had been reluctant to leave her family behind.

While authorities allowed Liu Xia to leave China, her brother Liu Hui reportedly has remained in China.

China has maintained that Liu Xia was free and accorded all rights guaranteed to her by law.

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 in May as part of a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The last time China let a high-profile political prisoner leave was in 2012, when blind activist Chen Guangcheng was allowed to fly to NY after escaping from house arrest and hiding for six days in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

In May, several foreign diplomats who tried to visit Liu at her apartment amid concerns over her health were denied access. "Dying is easier than living - there is nothing simpler for me than to protest with death".

Liu Xiaobo was a writer and a prominent voice during the democratic movement which led to the 1989 Tiananmen massacre. Nineteen measures were itemized with the aim of improving China's human rights situation.

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