Tue, March 03, 2009
Video > News/Media > China-YSL relics row

Chinese bidder refuses to pay

2009-03-03 10:40:52 GMT2009-03-03 18:40:52 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

A Chinese art collector identified himself on Monday as the winning bidder in last week's Paris auction for two sculptures looted from Beijing but said, as a patriot, he had no intention of paying.

Cai Mingchao, a collector and adviser to a private foundation in China that seeks to retrieve looted treasures, said he successfully bid for the items which sold for 20 million dollars.

(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin with English translation) BIDDER CAI MINGCHAO, SAYING:

"I think any Chinese person would have stood up at that moment. It was just that the opportunity came to me. I was merely fulfilling my responsibilities. What I want to stress is that this money cannot be paid."

Christie's, which had triggered Chinese anger by holding the sale, would not say what action it would take against the bidder, only that the bronze sculptures of the heads of a rat and a rabbit would not be released until it had been paid.

A spokesman for China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage said the government body was unaware of the news conference and stressed that the foundation was not affiliated to the government.

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