China frees Nobel laureate’s widow from house arrest

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After almost eight years of house arrest, Chinese authorities have released Liu Xia, the ailing widow of Nobel Peace Prize-winning political dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Liu Xia – an artist, photographer, and poet – was never charged with a crime, according to Human Rights Watch.

But she was held arbitrarily as her health rapidly deteriorated under house arrest.

The rights watchdog said: "Human Rights Watch — together with our many partners around the world — has been tirelessly advocating for Liu’s release since her husband’s arrest in 2009.

"We worked with others to expose Beijing’s persecution of Liu Xia’s family members, launched visibility events around the world to amplify her struggle, and never stopped calling publicly for her freedom.

"Liu Xia’s release and departure from China show that sustained international pressure can create meaningful change, and force even the most repressive governments to back down.

"While Liu’s release is certainly a moment to celebrate, we must ensure that her family members in China are not persecuted as a way of keeping her silent. And my team will continue to focus public pressure on the Chinese government to release hundreds more activists who are wrongfully detained for demanding the rights they deserve."

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