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China wants back imperial treasures

CHINA has demanded the return of looted imperial bronzes scheduled to be auctioned off in Paris as part of the disposal of the estate of the late French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.

The sculptures of a rat head and rabbit disappeared in 1860, when French and British forces sacked the former Imperial Summer Palace on the outskirts of Beijing at the close of the second Opium War.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said yesterday that the pieces were "stolen and taken away by intruders."

The two bronzes are each expected to fetch about 8 to 10 million euros (US$10.4 to US$13 million) when they go under the hammer this month along with other pieces belonging to Saint Laurent, who died last year.

"The aggressive war not only offended the Chinese people but this kind of action is a violation of international convention," Jiang said.


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