U.S. returns ancient artifacts to China

09:42, March 12, 2011      

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Guests watch ancient Chinese artifacts returning to China during an ancient Chinese artifacts returning ceremony in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, March 11, 2011. From left to right are a Northern Qi Dynasty limestone Buddha, a Qing Dynasty ceramic vase and a Song Dynasty Bodhisattva head. U.S. government officials on Friday returned to China over a dozen of invaluable ancient Chinese artifacts which were seized by law enforcement officers from illicit traffickers in 2010. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)

U.S. government officials on Friday returned over a dozen invaluable ancient artifacts to China. The artifacts were seized by law enforcement officers from illicit traffickers.

In a ceremony held at Washington's Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Deputy Director Kumar Kibble and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar repatriated 14 ancient artifacts to Chinese Embassy's Deputy Chief of Mission and Minister Deng Hongbo.

The artifacts include a Song Dynasty Bodhisattva head, a Ming Dynasty stone frieze, a Qing Dynasty ceramic vase, as well as terracotta, pottery and stone sculptures from Sui, Tang and Northern Qi dynasties. They were seized in three separate operations in New York, Alaska and New Mexico.

Most of the objects were seized as part of the Operation Great Wall, an initiative targeting illicit importations originating from China. Following the signing of an agreement between the United States and China in 2009, the two countries have been working closely to prevent illicit trafficking of archaeological objects.

"The items we are returning to the People's Republic of China today are delicate, but tangible ancient works of art that are an important part of China's heritage," said Kibble, noting the long- term goal of the authorities is to reduce the incentive for further destruction of ancient tombs and temples.

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Source: Xinhua


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