Letter of Thanks and Regrets to the New York Festival of International Literature and to Mr. Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie because of his book The Satanic Verses was once targeted for assassination by Khomeini with a price of USD 5 million on his head. In the 1980s, I was still a young man. The first time I heard about Rushdie, I was very moved.
I feel deeply honored to receive this second invitation from such a brave writer even though I am unable to attend the Literary Festival in faraway New York City. Yes, deeply honored although the state has caged me within my own country and my friends Ran Yunfei, Liu Xiaobo and Ai Weiwei are now suffering. Although I cannot meet the writers of the Festival of International Literature in New York who are standing up for me, I will remember them forever.
In a certain conference hall in Norway in 2010, there was an empty chair for my old friend Mr. Liu Xiaobo. I hope that my writings, and my bearing witness to China’s history and its current situation, will be worthy of the empty chair that you will leave for me at the opening ceremony of the International Literary Festival.
Chinese writer Liao Yiwu