Activist Liu Xiaobo's widow 'allowed to leave China'

Beijing : China has allowed the widow of activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo to leave the country, boarding a flight for Germany, the media reported on Tuesday.

Liu Xia, who had been under house arrest since her husband won the prize in 2010, took a plane to Berlin at 11 a.m., family friends told the BBC. She has never been charged with any crime but said in May she was ready to die in protest over her continued detention.

Her husband, a university professor turned human rights campaigner, was jailed in 2009 for inciting subversion.
He died of liver cancer in 2017 and his ashes were scattered at sea.

Liu Xia is said to have suffered from depression after spending years under heavy surveillance. The development came three days before the anniversary of her husband's death.

Chinese authorities earlier maintained the dissident's widow was a free citizen but she faced restrictions on her movements and had been kept under surveillance.

Patrick Poon, China Researcher at the human rights groups Amnesty International, said it was "wonderful news that Liu Xia was finally free and that her persecution and illegal detention at the hands of the Chinese authorities came to an end".

He added: "The Chinese authorities tried to silence her, but she stood tall for human rights." Amnesty further called for an end to the harassment of Liu Xia's family who remained in China.