JULY 20, 2011
Dear Friends, Dear Members of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre,
Congratulations on your 10th Anniversary. I am very sorry not to have been able to join you. However, it is good to know that Hori Takeaki, our International Secretary, is there representing all of us; as well as Joanne Leedom-Ackerman, International Vice-President; and Marian Bostford Fraser, Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee.
Your members have shown enormous courage over the last decade as they have persisted in standing up for literature and freedom of expression. These are the fundamental beliefs which all PEN members around the world share with you. They lie at the heart of our Charter. I personally want to tell you how much I admire this courage which has brought tragedy, imprisonment and persecution to so many of your members. All of us stand in solidarity with you. With this persistence and continuing courage I am convinced that you will play an essential role in helping to change the situation in China so that you will be able to exercise your rights as writers within your home country. And we will be there to support you.
All best wishes on your celebration,
John Ralston Saul