France returns 32 stolen relics to China

Beijing, July 20 (IANS) Thirty-two gold ornaments stolen from ancient Chinese tombs and held by French collectors were formally handed over to China’s Gansu Provincial Museum on Monday.

It was the first time cultural relics have been successfully returned to China following bilateral negotiations between the Chinese and French governments, Xinhua reported.

Li Xiaojie, head of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, presented a gold ornament to Liu Weiping, Gansu provincial governor, at a handover ceremony on Monday.

They were returned by French private collectors Francois Pinault and Christian Deydier earlier this year.

The 32 gold items came from tombs in Dabuzishan in Lixian county, Gansu Province dating back to somewhere between 770 BC-476 BC.

The tombs were looted during the 1990s and a large number of relics, including the gold ornaments, were smuggled abroad.

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