It is with relief and satisfaction that I have received the news that Liu Xia, the courageous wife and widow of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, has been released from house arrest and departed from China in accordance with her true will and preference. She has committed no crime but has nevertheless been subject to hardship and suffering. Her house arrest was an eight-year long punishment for her husband’s political activism. She has described the situation accurately by saying something to this effect: “I did not find politics; politics found me.”

It is good that Chinese authorities finally have decided to end their unjustified oppression of Liu Xia. Her inhuman ordeal should never have taken place.

On behalf of the Norwegian Nobel Committee I express my deepest gratitude to Liu Xia and her late husband, Liu Xiaobo, for their heroic effort in favour of human rights and individual freedom in China. One day their sacrifice will be to the benefit of all Chinese citizens. I will also use the opportunity to thank Chancellor Andrea Merkel and the German government for their unwavering support first to Liu Xiaobo, who died in captivity on 13 July 2017, and thereafter to his widow Liu Xia.

Last year the Norwegian Nobel Committee issued an open invitation to Liu Xia to come to Oslo and receive the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 on behalf of her late husband. It will be up to Liu Xia to decide the circumstances under which this will happen. On behalf of the Committee, I send her my warmest wishes and unconditional support on this historic day.