China says 'relics for rights' offer ridiculous

24th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

Owner Pierre Berge’s comment that he would give the dynasty bronzes back to China in return for human rights in the country is ridiculous, says China’s foreign ministry.

BEIJING – China said Tuesday an offer to exchange two imperial bronzes looted 150 years ago by foreign troops for human rights was "ridiculous", as it called once more for the return of the relics.

The 18th-century Qing dynasty bronzes are to go under the hammer on Wednesday in Paris, and owner Pierre Berge told French radio on Friday that he would give them back to China in return for human rights in the country.

"To infringe upon Chinese people's cultural rights on the pretext of human rights is just ridiculous," foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told reporters.

Berge, a patron of the arts and longtime rights campaigner, is the former partner of late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.

Ma once again called for the return of the two bronzes, which are part of a collection looted 150 years ago by British and French troops from the imperial Summer Palace, and which are worth up millions of dollars each.

"In modern history, Western imperial powers have looted a lot of Chinese cultural relics, including those in the Summer Palace, and these cultural relics should be returned to China," he said.

AFP / Expatica

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