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Another looted relic up for auction

ANOTHER heritage relic looted from China is to go on auction in Paris, today's Wenhui Daily reported.

The nephrite Qianlong (1736-1795) era seal is part of a collection of antiques belonging to the French General de Vassoigne which the Beaussant Lefevre is to auction on Wednesday in Paris.

It is believed to have been looted from China's Yuanmingyuan, the Old Summer Palace, by Anglo-French forces during the Second Opium War in 1860. The general led the French troops in the attack.

According to the auction house's Website, the seal is made from jade and has two dragons entwined on a square base which is inscribed with the Chinese characters "jiu zhou qing an zhi bao" ("Peace and Tranquility in the Nation").

It is estimated that it may attract bids of up to 300,000 euros (US$394,068).

Earlier this year, Christie's auction of two looted Chinese relics from Yuanmingyuan sparked an outcry in China.

China tried repeatedly to dissuade Christie's from auctioning the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) bronze rabbit and rat sculptures. But the efforts failed.

Cai Mingchao, a Chinese antiques collector, won the February 25 auction with a bid of 31.49 million euros. But he later said he would not pay because the relics might not be able to enter China.

The patriotic collector decided to quit the auction community a month later because he said he felt ashamed to face his peers.


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