A long time campaigner for Liu Xia to be released from house arrest, Albert Ho, said on Tuesday that he is relieved that she has finally be freed, but warned that mainland authorities will now be holding her brother as a hostage.
Liu Xia, the widow of dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, left Beijing earlier in the day on a Finnair flight and was bound for Germany.
Ho, who is the chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, said he believes international pressure and Beijing's desire to "close the chapter" led to her release.
"On the one hand there has been international pressure exerted on Beijing for the release of Liu Xia. And on the hand, Beijing according to its calculation, there is no gain in continuing to hold Liu Xia under custody after the passing away of Liu Xiaobo," Ho said.
He said Beijing no doubt realised that her release would generate some publicity, but was also convinced that this would die down after a short while.
Ho warned, however, that Liu Xia's freedom will have come at a price.
"I think certainly Liu Xia has been warned to keep her speeches or activities within certain boundaries. Her beloved brother, Liu Hui, will be held hostage and that is the means to ensure that Liu Xia will abide by her promises to Beijing," he said.
Ho told RTHK's Timmy Sung that he believed Liu Xia had been on the verge of collapse before leaving China, saying she was mentally very weak and was suffering from depression. He said Beijing would have had a lot to answer for if she had taken her own life as many people feared.
Democratic Party lawmaker Andrew Wan said the alliance will try to get in touch with Liu Xia in Germany. He also urged the public to pay attention to the situation of Liu Hui, as well as the lawyers arrested in 709 crackdown.
Former lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung, who had frequently rallied for Liu Xia's release, was overcome with emotion as he spoke about it.
He said the moral of this is that people should never give up despite enormous challenges. "You need to keep fighting, to achieve your goals, he said.