Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize-winning political dissident Liu Xiaobo, left China for Germany on Tuesday, a move welcomed by rights groups that had long pressed for her release from what was effectively house arrest.
Liu Xia has never been charged with any crime but said in May she was ready to die in protest at her continued detention.
Liu Xia's friend, meanwhile, told Kyodo News that she wanted to leave China together with her younger brother, but that was not permitted.
A social media post written by her brother and verified by the Associated Press offered thanks to those who have cared for her and expressed hope that "from now on, her life is peaceful and happy". "Sister has already left Beijing for Europe at noon to start her new life".
"While Liu Xia is free, our work is not complete", he said.
"Liu Xia has been suffering from depression and under tight surveillance for so many years", he said.
And 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.
Johnny Lau, a political commentator in Hong Kong, said he believed the authorities had let Ms Liu go to avoid her case sparking a "surge" of pressure on China around the July 13 anniversary of Liu Xiaobo's death.
Liu Xia was put under house arrest without trial after her husband won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.
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"The issue is 'Do they have freedom to protest, freedom to assemble and should they be allowed to do so?'", he told British TV. He is also expected to visit Scotland - where he owns two golf courses - before heading back to the US.
It's also a big win for Germany, one of the few countries allowed to send a doctor to China past year to examine Liu Xiaobo. Her forced solitude was an emblem of Chinese cruelty toward a wife whose husband was ripped away from her for the crime of expressing his views, and then-nearly exactly a year ago-allowed to die in prison while denied access to potentially lifesaving medical treatment overseas. "But we still fear for Liu Hui, who is being kept in the country as a guarantee so that Liu Xia does not speak out overseas".
A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said Liu left for Germany to seek "medical treatment on her own accord".
China had criticized calls by Western governments for Liu's release as interference in its domestic affairs and insisted that Liu Xia was free.
Western diplomats have said, however, that authorities had closely monitored her after the death of her husband and she had only able to meet and speak to friends and family in pre-arranged phone calls and visits.
Efforts to secure Liu Xia's departure came amid growing concern over her health and state of mind, after Liao Yiwu, a dissident and friend living in Germany, released details of a telephone conversation in April in which an anguished Liu Xia said she was losing hope of leaving.
Cruz previously authored a resolution honoring the life and work of Liu Xiaobo and in July of previous year, as well as the fall of 2015, delivered speeches calling attention to Liu's plight. "It's easier to die than live. Using death to defy could not be any simpler for me".
China on Tuesday allowed Liu Xia to fly to Berlin, ending an eight-year house arrest that drew worldwide criticism and made the soft-spoken, chain-smoking 57-year-old poet with a shaven head a tragic icon known around the world.
Her husband was only the second Nobel Peace Prize victor to die in police custody, a fact pointed to by human rights groups as an indication of the ruling party's increasingly hard line against its critics. The first, Carl von Ossietzky, died from tuberculosis in Germany in 1938 while serving a sentence for opposing Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is in Germany this week.