Auction canceled for three controversial letters

Updated: 2013-06-06 21:48


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Three controversial letters said to have been written by a late Chinese writer and by his widow are now thought to be fakes.

Wei Tongxian, former head of Shanghai Ancient Book Press, said in a statement on Wednesday that he never received the letters from Qian Zhongshu, who won his fame for the sarcastic novel Fortress Besieged. The book depicted the lives of Chinese intellectuals in the 1930s.

Two of the three letters are said to have been addressed to Wei. However, Wei said that he never received them and added that the handwriting on the letters is not the same as Qian’s.

The statement came after a cancelled auction for the letters. Poly International Auction Co Ltd said that the three letters - thought to have been written by Qian and his wife Yang Jiang - had been taken off an auction scheduled for Monday.

The 102-year-old Yang had previously protested against the planned auction and accused the sellers of infringing their rights of authorship, privacy and reputation.

Yang had not responded to Wei's statement as of Thursday afternoon.