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France returns 32 cultural relics to Chinese museum

Updated: Jul 20,2015 3:10 PM     

Photo taken on July 20, 2015 shows gold ornaments displayed at a public exhibition of Chinese cultural relics returned by French private collectors, at Gansu Provincial Museum in Lanzhou, capital of northwest China’s Gansu province. [Photo/Xinhua]

People visit a public exhibition of Chinese cultural relics returned by French private collectors, at Gansu Provincial Museum in Lanzhou, capital of northwest China’s Gansu province, July 20, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

Photo taken on July 20, 2015 shows gold ornaments displayed at a public exhibition of Chinese cultural relics returned by French private collectors, at Gansu Provincial Museum in Lanzhou, capital of northwest China’s Gansu province. [Photo/Xinhua]

A woman visits a public exhibition of Chinese cultural relics returned by French private collectors, at Gansu Provincial Museum in Lanzhou, capital of northwest China’s Gansu province, July 20, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

A woman visits a public exhibition of Chinese cultural relics returned by French private collectors, at Gansu Provincial Museum in Lanzhou, capital of northwest China’s Gansu province, July 20, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

LANZHOU — Thirty-two gold ornaments stolen from ancient Chinese tombs and held by French collectors were formally handed over to northwest China’s Gansu Provincial Museum on July 20.

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 morning, marking the relics’ return.

It was the first time cultural relics have been successfully returned to China following bilateral negotiations between the Chinese and French governments. 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 the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC-476 BC). The tombs were badly looted during the 1990s and a large number of relics, including the gold ornaments, were smuggled abroad.

A public exhibition of the relics also opened on Monday and will last until Oct. 31. After that, they will be permanently displayed at the Gansu Provincial Museum.

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