The widow of a Nobel Laureate who was held under house arrest without charge for 8 years finally left China

The widow of a Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner has left China after eight years under house arrest despite never being charged with a crime. Liu Xia was placed under house arrest after her husband won the internationally recognized award. A democracy activist, Liu Xiaobo was jailed for 11 years for his writings and died under custody last year. His widow had remained under house arrest until today when she flew to Europe. BEIJING (AP) — Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, has left China for Europe after eight years under house arrest despite never being charged with a crime.. A person briefed on the matter told AP about Liu's movements on Tuesday and several sources also confirmed the news to Amnesty International and BBC Chinese, telling the latter that Liu left on a Finnair flight at about 11 a.m. Tuesday. Her brother in Beijing seemed to confirm the news on WeChat. "My sister left Beijing to fly to Europe this afternoon, to begin her new life. I’m grateful for those who cared about her and helped her all these year," Liu Hui wrote, according to Ming Pao. "May the rest of her life be peaceful and happy. Thanks everyone, I bow to you.” Chinese authorities put Liu under house arrest in 2010, days after the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded her imprisoned husband, Liu Xiaobo, the Peace Prize, infuriating the Chinese government. Liu Xiaobo died of liver cancer last July while under government custody, prompting a new round of international calls for his widow's release. China sentenced Liu Xiaobo in December 2009 to 11 years imprisonment on charges of inciting subversion of state power after he helped write a manifesto calling for political and economic liberalization. Chinese authorities repeatedly declined to discuss Liu Xia’s confinement, which critics say was cruel and illegal. Authorities had assigned guards around-the-clock outside Liu’s Beijing home and restricted her access to Internet and the outside world, allowing her only occasional phone calls with a small circle of friends. An accomplished artist and poet, Liu told Associated Press reporters during an unexpected visit to her home in 2012 that she had anticipated China would punish her for her husband’s Nobel award but she had not expected to be kept under “Kafkaesque” house arrest. Liu’s friends in recent months have said her mental condition has steadily deteriorated, particularly since the death of her husband.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why the North Korea summit mattered even if it was 'mostly a photo op'

 
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