Ouyang Jian, Vice Minister of Culture, said on March 12 that Christie's has violated the spirit of relevant international conventions and the international consensus of returning relics to their countries of origin.
It has also hurt the cultural rights and interests and the national sentiment of the Chinese people, which will have a serious impact on the development of Christie's in China.
Ouyang gave this response during an interview on the topic of "Cultural Market and Development of the Cultural Industry," claiming that he strongly opposes and condemns all activity regarding the auctioning of cultural relics illegally transported out of their countries.
"China will never consent to illegal possession of stolen cultural relics. How we retrieve them is another matter. We will never stop questioning the legitimacy of such possession, and will continue to seek the return of all relics stolen and illegally exported in the past by all necessary means in accordance with related international conventions and Chinese laws," Ouyang said.
Ouyang restated that Chinese citizen Cai Mingchao's participation in the bidding for the Chinese bronze rat head and rabbit head from Yuanmingyuan (the Old Summer Palace) was completely of his own accord.
Related measures adopted by relevant departments of the Chinese government for the purpose of intensifying the entry and exit examination and administration of cultural relics will not affect the returning of these looted cultural relics to China.
After the press conference, Ouyang also expressed, although the Chinese government will not halt Christie's' commercial activities in China, it will investigate the legitimacy of its sources for cultural relics in accordance with the law.
By People's Daily Online