Thu, March 05, 2009
World > Europe > China-YSL relics row

Online survey: Over 80% French back repatriation of looted Chinese bronzes

2009-03-05 03:14:28 GMT2009-03-05 11:14:28 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

PARIS, March 4 (Xinhua) -- An online survey showed that more than 80 percent of French respondents hold the looted Chinese bronze sculptures should be returned to where they came from.

Le Figaro newspaper's website organized the survey Monday as a Chinese man said he would not pay the 31.49 million euros (39.63 million U.S. dollars) he bid for the 18th Century bronze heads of a rat and a rabbit, the Nouvelles d'Europe daily reported Wednesday.

To answer the survey question "Do you agree Pierre Berge (the current owner of the bronzes) should return the two bronzes to China as Beijing requested," 81.5 percent of the 51,680 respondents said "Yes", while 18.5 percent said "No".

"We should understand why they want the two bronzes back ... Just think about how it came to France," commented a respondent.

Christie's held auctions on the two bronze animal heads on Feb.25 over China's objections.

Cai Mingchao, a Chinese antique collector, announced that he won the bid by telephone and the payment will not be made.

The sculptures of 12 animal heads disappeared when the Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan) in Beijing was burned down by Anglo-French allied forces during the Second Opium War in 1860.

So far, five of the bronzes have been returned, while the whereabouts of five others are unknown.

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