Widow of Nobel dissident Liu Xiaobo leaves China for Berlin

Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, has left Beijing after eight years of living under house arrest and two days before the anniversary of her husband's death.

But China Human Rights Defenders researcher Frances Eve said Liu's release was an "easy win" for China. Wu said he spoke to Liu Xia's older brother, Liu Tong.

In this December 6, 2012 photo, Liu Xia, the wife of China's jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, poses with a photo of her and her husband during an interview at her home in Beijing.

- "Very severe" depression - Speaking to AFP before her departure, close friend Ye Du told AFP that Liu was suffering from "very severe" depression, adding that she would "sometimes faint". Liu Xiaobo died of liver cancer while serving an 11-year sentence after being found guilty of "subversion" against the state.

"It is wonderful news that Liu Xia is finally free and that her persecution and illegal detention at the hands of the Chinese authorities has come to an end, almost one year since Liu Xiaobo's untimely and undignified death", Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty said in a statement he sent to Al Jazeera.

Western diplomats, however, disagree. Apart from Liu Xia, everyone is also very anxious about [detained human rights lawyer] Wang Quanzhang.

The German embassy had offered in April to help Liu Xia travel to Germany but the move did not take place.

In a rare case of a top Chinese official taking questions about a sensitive matter, Premier Li Keqiang was asked about Liu's case during a briefing as part of a May visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In May, dozens of the world's leading writers and artists, from Michael Chabon to Paul Auster and Khaled Hosseini, called on China to release her to seek medical treatment overseas.

However, Poon voiced concern for Liu Xia's brother Liu Hui who is still in China and said she "might not be able to speak much for fear of her brother's safety".

"Xiaobo is gone, and there's nothing in the world for me now", Liu said tearfully. "I hope from now on her life is peaceful and happy".

Liu Hui was sentenced to 11 years in jail on fraud charges in 2013, in a case which was widely seen as political persecution.

An accomplished artist and poet, Liu told Associated Press reporters during an unexpected visit to her home in 2012 that she had anticipated China would punish her for her husband's Nobel award, but she had not expected to be kept under "Kafkaesque" house arrest. "The Chinese authorities tried to silence her, but she stood tall for human rights".

The news of her release was a rare piece of good news for China's beleaguered community of activists, who have been at the centre of an expansive crackdown on civil society, rights lawyers and other independent groups the administration of President Xi Jinping has deemed a threat to the ruling Communist Party's grip on power.

"Now, the harassment of Liu Xia's family who remain in China must end too". At the time, Liu had arrived in Helsinki, Finland to transfer flights.