On Tuesday, China granted Liu Xia, the widow of the Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, who was held under house arrest for 8 years, to leave the country and reach Germany.
The question over the years has attracted international criticism and has transformed the woman into a tragic icon.
Liu Xia landed at Helsinki airport on Tuesday morning with a Finnair flight, spread her arms and smiled at the photographers who were waiting for her.
Liu Xia has been imprisoned for eight years for not committing any crime. The pressure exerted by Western governments and activists allowed the release, which took place a few days before the anniversary of the death of Liu Xiaobo.
The 11 years of Liu’s imprisonment and his wife’s arrest at home became a symbol of the Chinese authoritarian regime, which tried in every way to obscure the couple so that it would not become an example to be followed at home.
The release of the woman coincided with the visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Germany, who has long urged Beijing on the issue.
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel met regularly dissidents during her visits to the Asian country and had brought the case of Liu Xia to the attention of the Chinese authorities.
A spokesman for the Chinese government said that Liu Xia left the country of his will to seek medical treatment.
In 2009, China had sentenced Liu Xiaobo to 11 years of imprisonment for Inciting subversion of state power (煽动颠覆国家政权罪), after his contribution to Charter 08 (零八宪章), a manifesto for political and economic liberalization.
Inciting subversion of state power has frequently been the charge given against human rights campaigners within China when they are sentenced to imprisonment.
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Liu received the Nobel Prize on October 8, 2010. Liu Xia then traveled to a prison in northeast China where the husband was detained and told him that he had just won the Nobel Peace Prize. This was the last time Liu Xia left her home as a free woman.
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