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NGO to recover China's lost cultural relics from overseas
www.chinaview.cn 2006-03-13 22:04:48

    BEIJING, March 13 (Xinhuanet) -- A Chinese non-government organization is to organize a group of experts and collectors to travel overseas to retrieve China's lost antiques.

    China's Lost Cultural Relics Recovery Program of the China Foundation for the Development of Folklore Culture will arrange the group to go to Japan to attend an antique exposition, which will be held in Tokyo from May 3 to 5, according to Monday's Beijing Star Daily.

    "It will be a good chance for us to get information on Chinese relics scattered around Japan," Niu Xianfeng, who is in charge of the program, was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

    The group will also visit the antique markets in Osaka and Kyoto. In addition, the organization plans to go to Europe to investigate and retrieve the lost treasures there, said Niu.

    The organization, founded in 2002, is the country's first civil group raising money to retrieve and rescue cultural relics.

    A priceless bronze pig's head dating from the imperial Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) was returned to its home in Beijing in 2003 after it was removed by invading foreign troops over 140 years ago, thanks to the efforts of the organization and the Poly Art Museum.

    Statistics show that about 1.67 million Chinese cultural relics are housed in more than 2,000 museums in 47 countries, accounting for just 10 percent of all lost Chinese cultural treasures. Most of the lost treasures are now owned by private collectors.

    Many other countries are facing similar situations, such as Egypt, India and Greece. China should join hands with them to retrieve lost artifacts through legal means instead of paying money, since money can only stimulate illegal trading, said some experts. Enditem

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