Canada returns prehistoric fossils to China

08:44, November 11, 2010      

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Photo taken on Nov. 9, 2010 shows the sinohydrosaurus fossil in Ottawa, Canada. A collection of 130 million years old fossils, smuggled from China into Canada seven years ago, was officially transferred to the Chinese government Tuesday, marking the country's first return of culture property to China. The fossils, 35 pieces in total, consist of Sinohydrosaurus, Lycoptera fish, plant and insect fossils, all originating from Liaoning province, northeast China. (Xinhua/Christopher Pike)

A collection of 130 million years old fossils, smuggled from China into Canada seven years ago, was officially transferred to the Chinese government Tuesday.

The priceless prehistoric fossils were returned by the Canadian government at a ceremony at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, marking the country's first return of culture property to China.

The fossils, 35 pieces in total, consist of Sinohydrosaurus, Lycoptera fish, plant and insect fossils, all originating from Liaoning province, northeast China.

These old bones had been stored in the Canadian Museum of Nature since being seized by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in 2003.

The fossils were repatriated in accordance with the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and the ruling of the Federal Court of Canada.

The fossils will head to China, to be kept in the Geological Museum of China.

In a speech at the ceremony, Charge d'Affaires of the Chinese embassy to Canada Xu Bu said: "Fossils are China's much cherished non-renewable cultural heritage. These 35 fossil pieces are of great archeological and scientific value. We are very happy to see them return to where they belong."

"The ceremony today is a good example of the common aspiration of the governments of China and Canada to do what we can to explore and preserve our cultures. It also symbolizes the enduring friendship between the Chinese and Canadian peoples," he added.

Assistant Deputy Minister of the Department of Canadian Heritage Tom Scrimger said that Canada actively performs its responsibilities to other signatories of the UNESCO convention that allowed Canada to take action and honor the request for the return of the fossils.

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(Editor:梁军)

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