Culture officials yesterday severely criticized plans by a French auction house to sell an 18th century jade imperial seal.
Auctioneer Beaussant-Lefevre has advertised the item on its website, estimating its value at $396,000-528,000. The sale was due to take place in Paris early this morning Beijing time.
The authorities that manage Beijing's Summer Palace said the seal was looted when British and French forces burned down the Old Summer Palace toward the end of the Second Opium War in 1860.
"We once again express strong indignation at this sort of repeated action that hurts the Chinese people's feelings, harms their cultural interests, and violates international pacts," the palace authority said in a statement.
The auctioneer said the seal comes from the personal collection of a descendant of Elie Jean de Vassoigne, a French general who commanded some of the invading troops.
Source: China Daily/Agencies