Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Hong Kong activists celebrate after Liu Xia 'leaves China'

Hong Kong activists celebrate after Liu Xia 'leaves China'

Concerns for her safety surged in May, after a conversation between Liu Xia and her friend, exiled Chinese writer Liao Yiwu, surfaced on the Internet.

Two separate sources close to Liu Xia said she had been pressing to leave China since past year, but only with her brother, after the authorities indicated they might allow her to go.

"Xiaobo is gone, and there's nothing in the world for me now", Liu said tearfully. She was eventually admitted to hospital the following month, where she was treated for a heart condition. "She is flying to Europe to start her life anew", he said.

Liu Hui said it felt like he was able to finally unload the "dead weight" off his shoulders. "I am very excited when my sister left safely", he said. German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets regularly with dissidents during visits to China and has raised Liu Xia's case with Chinese officials, including during a visit in May, people familiar with the matter said.

Johnny Lau, a political commentator in Hong Kong, said he believed the authorities had let Ms Liu go to avoid her case sparking a "surge" of pressure on China around the July 13 anniversary of Liu Xiaobo's death.

A trade war has also broken out between China and the United States.

Li said that China will cooperate with Germany "in the spirit of mutual respect, equality, mutual understanding and accommodation as well as fair competition to better achieve win-win results", according to China's foreign ministry.

Specifically, both sides plan to strengthen cooperation on digitization, autonomous driving, artificial intelligence, new energy vehicles, and scientific and technological innovation - the items that the USA government aims to hit the hardest via its trade war, which targets advanced technologies that are the focus of the "Made in China 2025" plan.

Officials at the German embassy in Beijing did not confirm the news when contacted by Reuters and referred questions to the German Foreign Office in Berlin.

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China's foreign ministry has confirmed that Liu has left the country to seek medical treatment in Germany.

"She was just standing there alone, smoking a cigarette", Hu said.

"The lesson of Liu Xia and her courageous husband, the late Nobel Peace Prize victor Liu Xiaobo, who was murdered by the Communist Chinese regime, is simple yet powerful: darkness fears light and mendacity fears truth, so tyrants can not tolerate either", he continued.

Close friends said she had limited access to the outside world, and was only occasionally permitted to leave her Beijing apartment to visit her parents or her husband at his prison in the northeastern province of Liaoning. "I hope her life from now on is filled with peace and happiness".

Germany, which is also home to dissident artist Ai Weiwei, has been outspoken on rights in China.

Cruz previously authored a resolution honoring the life and work of Liu Xiaobo and in July of past year, as well as the fall of 2015, delivered speeches calling attention to Liu's plight.

Liu Xia's departure was "wonderful news" but harassment of her family remained a risk to her freedom to criticise China, Amnesty International's China researcher Patrick Poon said. "But we still fear for Liu Hui, who is being kept in the country as a guarantee so that Liu Xia does not speak out overseas".

Western diplomats and rights groups had earlier hoped to be able to get Liu Hui out of China as well. Wu said he spoke to Liu Xia's older brother, Liu Tong.

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