Widow of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo leaves China for Germany

Albert Ho

A Reuters news report quoting the BBC said that Liu Xia took a Finnair flight that departed from Beijing at around 03:00 GMT.

"Liu Xia has been kept isolated for so many years", said Wu by phone from the southern city of Guangzhou.

Berlin has been pushing China to let Liu leave the country following the death of her husband.

Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize victor Liu Xiaobo, flew out of China bound for Germany on Tuesday morning, the South China Morning Post has learned. On the same visit, at a joint press conference with Merkel, Chinese premier Li Keqiang said China was prepared to discuss "relevant individual cases" with Germany.

A friend of Liu Xia told Reuters in May that she was losing hope of leaving the country.

Protesters carrying photos of Chinese dissident Liu Xia demonstrate near a flag raising ceremony for China's National Day in Hong Kong, China October 1, 2016.

The South China Morning Post reported that Liu Xia left for Germany through Finland on Tuesday morning.

If the reports that she's been released to Germany are true, it would mark an end to almost a decade of unofficial detention for Liu Xia-who has been kept under strict state surveillance since Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2010.

"Sister has already left Beijing for Europe at noon to start her new life". Those close to her say she suffers from heart ailments and depression, and has many times asked to leave China. He met German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday.

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Liu Xiaobo, a veteran of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, died last year while serving an 11-year jail sentence for "subversion", making him the first Nobel laureate to die in custody since the era of Nazi Germany.

He said China's constitution protected human rights.

News of her departure comes three days before the anniversary of her husband's death.

It's also a big win for Germany, one of the few countries allowed to send a doctor to China past year to examine Liu Xiaobo. He was later released but remained closely monitored, according to friends of the family, and is still in China.

But China has lambasted calls for her release, saying it was an internal matter. Handed an 11-year jail sentence for fraud in 2013, Liu Hui was later released but remained monitored, according to friends of the family.

Western diplomats, however, disagree.

Western governments and activists have urged China for years to release Liu Xia, citing the fact that she has never been charged with any crime.

"Hopefully she will be able to recuperate and receive much needed medical care, but China is effectively holding her brother hostage so she may not speak out about her ordeal".

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