BERLIN – Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, arrived on Tuesday in the German capital on a commercial flight from Helsinki.
The Finnair plane carrying Liu landed at Berlin’s Tegel Airport shortly before 5 pm and a car was waiting at the foot of the steps to whisk her away.
Liu left China earlier Tuesday for Finland.
The 57-year-old poet has spent the last eight years in China under conditions akin to house arrest, but a spokesman at the foreign ministry in Beijing said Tuesday that Liu decided to travel to Germany for medical treatment “of her own free will.”
Amnesty International welcomed the end of what it described as the Chinese government’s persecution of Liu, whose husband died last year in prison while serving an 11-year sentence for subversion.
The German government has so far offered no comment on Liu’s arrival, which coincided with the departure of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang after a three-day official visit to Berlin.
Indeed, the Finnair plane crossed paths on the runway with Li’s Air China Boeing 747.
Liu’s departure from Beijing came three days ahead of the one-year anniversary of her husband’s death in custody. International pressure on China to free the widow intensified after the winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize succumbed to cancer.