Via The Times
Jackie Chan, the action film star, has thrown his weight behind Beijing’s efforts to shame France over the sale of two looted Chinese sculptures that were part of the Yves Saint Laurent collection.
The bronze rat and rabbit, removed when British and French forces sacked the Old Summer Palace in 1860, were sold for Â¤14 million (Â£12.5 million) each to two anonymous bidders last night, despite Chinese objections.
Mr Chan said France had behaved disgracefully in allowing the sale. â€œThey remain looted items, no matter whom they were sold to. Whoever took it out [of China] is himself a thief,â€ he said . â€œIt was looting yesterday. It is still looting today.â€
The Rush Hour star accused Western countries of stealing cultural relics from nations with ancient heritages such as China, Egypt and Cambodia, while insisting they were doing so only to preserve them. He said that he was planning to make a film about the return of some of China’s stolen national treasures, with filming scheduled to start next year.
China, mindful of President Sarkozy’s support of Tibet and the Dalai Lama at the Beijing Olympics, has been eager to highlight the issue. The bronzes were among 12 animal head sculptures that formed a zodiac-themed water clock in the palace of Emperor Qianlong. China has bought back 5 of the 12 but said yesterday that it did not plan to buy any more. â€œThat would give the ‘stolen’ goods a coat of legitimacy,â€ the Old Summer Palace museum said.