By Tenzin Dharpo
Xia arrives in Germany, FB post
DHARAMSHALA, July 10: The widow of prominent human rights campaigner and Nobel peace prize laureate Liu Xiaobo who died last year, has reportedly been allowed to leave China where she had been under de facto house arrest since 2010. Liu Xia flew to Berlin, Germany on Tuesday, BBC reported.
Xia who was kept under close surveillance since her husband won the Nobel Peace prize in 2010 was said to be battling depression and “ready to die”. Her departure to Germany comes three days before the first death anniversary of her husband.
In May, Xia told her friend Liao Yiwu on phone, "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." She is also heard saying that “it is easier to die than live” in the recorded conversation.
While there is no official statement by either Beijing or Berlin, Germany is said to have been lobbying for Xia’s release. The move comes when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is in Germany this week.
Xia will seek treatment for depression in Germany, reports said.
Her husband Liu Xiaobo was seen as a foremost advocate for human rights in communist-ruled China. Liu, a former professor of literature at Beijing Normal University, was arrested numerous times – he was jailed for 21 months for his role in 1989 Tiananmen Square protest; for three years in 1996 for his human rights activities; and in 2008 for drafting a pro-democracy manifesto called Charter 08.
A year later on June 23, 2009, he was arrested on suspicion of ‘alleged agitation activities aimed at subversion of the government’ and on December 9, 2009 charged with ‘incitement of subversion of state power’. Subsequently, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Liu was a strong supporter of Tibetan cause and had authored a number of articles on Tibet. He was instrumental in drafting and signing the 12-point suggestions submitted to the Chinese authorities in 2008 on how to resolve the long-standing issue of Tibet.
In July 2017, he died while on medical parole after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. Observers accused China of not transferring him to facilities where he could receive adequate medical treatment before he became terminally ill. Like many international governments and organisations, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said China bears a heavy responsibility for the ‘premature’ death of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.