(Berlin—July 11, 2018) In a rare victory, the Chinese government conceded to international pressure and freed Liu Xia, the widow of deceased Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, to leave China yesterday. Prior to her arrival in Berlin, she suffered almost eight years of chargeless house arrest.
According to CNN, Liu Xia’s brother, Liu Hui, announced his sister’s departure from China yesterday in a message to his friends. Her first steps of freedom occurred in Helsinki.She then took off for Berlin, where she will be seeking medical treatment.
Her release comes three days before the one-year anniversary of her husband’s death. Liu Xiaobo was imprisoned in 2008 for his role in penning the China human rights reform manifesto Charter 08. He passed away of liver cancer on July 13, 2017 after prison doctors failed to diagnose him before it progressed into the fourth stage.When Liu Xiaobo requested that he be allowed to travel abroad to consult with world-premier oncologists, he was repeatedly denied. Instead, the state selected a German and American specialist to treat him. He died shortly after.
Since his death, other Chinese prisoners of conscience have died under concerning circumstances, arousing suspicion that the Chinese Communist Party is attempting to eliminate dissenters.
Going against China’s wishes, the Nobel Foundation awarded Liu Xiaobo the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, while he was still behind bars.
Nearly eight years ago, Liu Xia was put under house arrest for her connection to her husband. She never received a charge. Two months ago, she phoned a friend and sobbed, saying that she was prepared to die.
“If I’m dead, it’ll all be done with,” she said.
Throughout her imprisonment, many foreign governments have called for her release, and a UN panel expressed concern for her deteriorating physical and mental health last week, according to CNN.
To read more about Liu Xiaobo, please visit this page.
ChinaAid celebrates Liu Xia’s newfound freedom. However, many other families of Chinese prisoners are still being persecuted for their beliefs, and ChinaAid will continue to expose the abuses they suffer in order to promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.