NEW YORK—In response to the news that poet and artist Liu Xia has left China, PEN America’s Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Nossel released the following statement:

“​PEN America is jubilant at the news that Liu Xia, poet, photographer, and wife of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Independent Chinese PEN Center founder and former President Liu Xiaobo, has finally been freed after nearly eight years under house arrest. Liu Xia was never accused of a crime. 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 abroad.

PEN America’s members and supporters, working in solidarity with writers and readers all over the world, have campaigned relentlessly for Liu Xia’s freedom throughout her confinement through letters, postcards, petitions, live protests, social media campaigns, videos, the distribution of her poems, and readings of her work. She has never been far from our thoughts, including this spring when dozens of artists and writers joined in literary solidarity with Liu Xia​. Her release is a testament to the power of collective voices being raised in support of those who others would ​brutalize into​ silence. We ​commend the leadership of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her government for their role in demanding her freedom. We call on the Chinese Government to permit ​Liu Xia’s​ brother, Liu Hui, to ​travel freely and to release all other political prisoners​.”


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.


Summer Lopez, Senior Director for Free Expression Programs: