[UPDATE: 10 pm] Liu Xia has arrived at the Helsinki International Airport in Finland.
fter almost a decade spent living under house arrest, the widow of Liu Xiaobo, China’s only Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has reportedly left China on a flight bound for Berlin.
Multiple sources have reported that Liu Xia boarded a Finnair plane in Beijing on Tuesday which is now heading toward Germany. Currently, further details about her present situation and future plans are unclear. The reported trip comes just three days before the one-year anniversary of her husband’s death and only one day after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with Angela Merkel in Berlin.
Despite never being charged with a crime, Liu Xia, 57, has lived under house arrest since 2010, when her husband was awarded the Nobel prize for his“long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.”Liu Xiaobo could not attend the ceremony in Oslo, already being jailed on charges of “subverting state power.”
Last year, he became the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to die in custody since Carl von Ossietsky in Nazi Germany. Passing away from terminal liver cancer in a Shenyang hospital, not far from the prison where he had spent much of the past decade.
Doctors said that Liu’s last words were to his wife, telling her to “live on well.”
Following Liu Xiaobo’s death, there was some renewed hope that China might allow his widow to leave the country. However, until today, her friends and colleagues had said that she continued to remain under constant surveillance and effective home arrest, causing her to fall into depression.
Over the years, China has repeatedly dismissed calls from advocacy groups and foreign governments to give Liu Xia her freedom, insisting that, in accordance with Chinese law, she is already a free citizen. To explain why she had been so out of touch, China claimed that she was still mourning the death of her husband, and therefore didn’t want any visitors.
Back in May, Liao Yiwu, a Chinese dissident and writer living in Germany, said that he had spoken with Liu Xia and that she had told him that she was prepared to die in order to protest her home arrest.
“Now, I’ve got nothing to be afraid of. If I can’t leave, I’ll die in my home. Xiaobo is gone, and there’s nothing in the world for me now. It’s easier to die than live. Using death to defy could not be any simpler for me,” Liu said during the tearful phone call after Liao tried to urge his friend to apply again to leave China.
“I’m so fucking angry that I’m ready to die here,” she continued. “If I’m dead, it’ll all be done with…. It’s obvious that I don’t have all the ways and means in hand.”