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Lawyers try to stop sale of treasures

CHINESE lawyers on Thursday sought an injunction in a French court to stop the sale of two Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) bronze sculptures looted from China.

Christie's is scheduled to auction the bronzes of a rabbit and a rat head with the rest of late fashion magnate Yves Saint Laurent's estate in Paris from Monday.

Bernard Gomez, president of the Association for the Protection of Chinese Art in Europe, has agreed to be the applicant, said Liu Yang, head of a group of lawyers who sought the injunction.

The Qing Dynasty relics were stolen from the Old Summer Palace by Anglo-French allied forces when they burnt down the palace during the Second Opium War in 1860.

"If the injunction fails we will participate in the auction and decide what to do next," Liu said.

Christie's has refused to pull the bronzes from the auction, saying the proceeds will go to charity.

The two bronze treasures were expected to fetch 8 to 10 million euros (US$10.4 to US$13 million) each.


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