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>> Liu Xia, the widow of late dissident Liu Xiaobo, has left China for Berlin. That's according to one of her friends who spoke to Reuters on Tuesday and says she left on a Finnair flight from Beijing. Liu Xia suffers from depression and has been under house arrest since her husband was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.
A friend also showed Reuters a message that said Liu Xia had left to quote, start a new life in Europe. That's a contrast from two months ago, when a source told Reuters she was losing hope of ever leaving China. Her departure follows months of pressure from activists and rights groups, and comes at the end of a visit to Germany by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
On Tuesday, China denied a link, but Reuters' Christian Shepherd says experts suspect otherwise.>> China has said that this wasn't a diplomatic issue. In fact, they've always said that Liu Xia is a free citizen and when they confirmed that she had left they said that she had chosen of her own accord to go to Germany for medical treatment.
However, analysts are saying that this may be related to Chinese efforts to try and get Germany on board to combat United States trade measures against China.>> Western diplomats say Germany has been pushing China to let Liu Xia leave ever since her husband died from liver cancer while in Chinese custody nearly a year ago.
Liu Xiabo was a veteran of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests for democracy and was sentenced to an 11-year prison term for citing subversion in 2009. China has repeatedly said Liu Xia is free, and granted all rights guaranteed by law. But diplomats say authorities closely monitored Liu Xia after the death of her husband, and she'd only been able to contact friends and family through pre-arranged visits and phone calls.