Old Summer Palace calls for return of looted relics

14:42, October 19, 2010      

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A commemorative event marking the 150th anniversary of the destruction of the imperial garden by occupying forces during the Second Opium War was held on Monday evening, Oct. 18, 2010.

A commemorative event marking the 150th anniversary of the destruction of the imperial garden by occupying forces during the Second Opium War was held on Monday evening, Oct. 18, 2010 at the ruins of the Yuanmingyuan, also known as the Old Summer Palace. Reported by Beijing News.

At the same time, the Old Summer Palace Administration made a proposal to the whole world for the return of lost cultural relics and an end to the auction and trade of those relics. And the proposal will be placed in the park where it will collect supporting signatures over the course of a year.

The proposal first expresses appreciation to those people who have been helping to recover cultural relics for years, and it claims those people "show their respect to the national sentiments and cultural rights of Chinese people and human beings' historical memories."

In the proposal, the Old Summer Palace asks people and institutions that hold the lost cultural relics belonging to the imperial park to return them. It also calls on people who love peace in the world to resist auctions and the sale of those lost cultural relics. Academic institutions around the world trying to research, protect, spread and use those cultural relics are also targeted.

The Old Summer Palace Administration believes that all the contents of the proposal are on the basis of "universally acknowledged common sense on humanism and morality."

People sign their name on the proposal.

On the commemorative evening gala, Jackie Chan, who accepted the invitation to be the public face for the campaign, was the first to sign his name on the proposal and led the audience to sign it en masse.

It is learned that the Old Summer Palace launched a campaign to collect lost cultural relics in 2006 and gained official support from State and Beijing Municipal Bureau of Cultural Relics. However, the campaign was not effective because it asked for the owners to donate them rather than offering to buy them back. As of now, only 85 lost cultural relics have made it back.

In February of 2008, the administration scolded French Christie's auction house for auctioning a Chinese bronze rat head sculpture and asked them to return the relics, but the sculpture still did not come back.

An official of the Old Summer Palace Administration said last night that the biggest difference of this proposal was that it expanded the scope from China to the whole world. The proposal also was published in English and French, which could make an influence worldwide. They also hired famous people to represent the campaign and hoped that it could add more leverage to demand back the relics. The proposal will also provide clues to Chinese workers who are attempting to locate lost cultural relics in Europen countries.
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