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10 July 2018, 09:21 | Glen Norman
Liu Xia, the widow of China'sNobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, left Beijing for Germany on Tuesday morning after years of being detained without legal cause, her family told Kyodo News, amid growing worldwide attention to her plight.
As Liu Xia got off a plane in transit at the airport in Helsinki on Tuesday, she spread her arms and grinned widely at a waiting photographer.
According to Liu Xia's friends, Liu Xia had previously hoped she and Liu Hui could be allowed to leave China together.
Liu Xia was held under illegal house arrestsince Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. She was closely monitored by state security agents and could only be reached by her closest friends by phone in limited circumstances.
China sentenced Liu Xiaobo in 2009 to 11 years' imprisonment on charges of inciting subversion of state power.
The Chinese government has not taken any responsibility for Liu Xiaobo's death or Liu Xia's illness.
Several Western diplomats tried to visit her at her Beijing apartment in May amid concerns over her psychological health but were refused entry without explanation.
The German embassy had offered in April to help Liu Xia travel to Germany but the move did not take place.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is in Germany this week.
Authorities are still holding Liu Xia's brother, Liu Hui, who was convicted of fraud and imprisoned in a case supporters say was in retaliation against the attention given the Nobel laureate.
Mr Liu, a writer and human rights activist, was given the award for his "long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China". Wu said he spoke to Liu Xia's older brother, Liu Tong.
Her younger brother, Liu Hui, is in China.
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"My sister has left Beijing to fly to Europe".
Throughout Liu Xiaobo's hospitalization till his death on July 13, 2017, Liu Xia was prevented from speaking freely to family, friends, or the media.
Last year, she appeared pale, gaunt and somber in images released by the authorities as she cared for Liu Xiaobo just before his death from liver cancer in a hospital under police custody.
Liu Xiaobo was only the second Nobel Peace Prize victor to die in police custody, and human rights group say that shows the Communist Party's increasingly hard line.
Rights groups and Western nations had been raising pressure on Beijing over Liu Xia in recent months, as fears grew among rights groups that she might never be able to leave and live overseas, a wish she had made clear. He was the first Nobel Peace Prize victor to die in custody since German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky in 1938. The post was verified by two of Liu Xia's close friends. The first anniversary of Liu Xiaobo's death is Friday. In May, Germany said it would welcome the widow after a recording was released of her crying in desperation and indicating she was losing hope of leaving China. "The Chinese government has already shown its willingness to ruthlessly deploy collective punishment against their family", said Frances Eve, a researcher at Chinese Human Rights Defenders. "China hopes to team up with Germany", he said.
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