A French court dismissed the appeal. Yet, the Washington Post reports that the Chinese government will not bow out of the controversy over the Beijing Summer Palace Zodiac clock gracefully:
On Tuesday, the Chinese government officially weighed in. “The State Administration of Cultural Heritage has formally informed the auctioneer of our strong opposition to the auction, and clearly demanded its cancellation,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said during a news conference. The bronzes are estimated to be worth nearly $13 million.
The Times of India warns Beijing that pressing too hard could bring unwanted consequences:
The lawyers have been overruled by a Paris court, but the Chinese government is now trying to make it a political issue. [ . . . ] “The western powers have plundered a great amount of Chinese cultural relics in wars, including many precious items robbed from the Old Summer Palace. All these should be returned to China,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said on Tuesday.
The statement suggested that China was ready to go beyond the auction of these two bronze heads and demand the return of thousands of art and cultural relics looted from the country. If Beijing earns success with the two bronze heads, it might open up a Pandora’s Box with several countries like India demanding the return of their relics.
“It is the international community’s consensus as well as the basic cultural rights and interest of the people of the original owning country of cultural assets to protect cultural relics and return them to the original owning countries,” Ma said.
China Continues Efforts to Block French Auction of Historic Sculptures (Washington Post)
China Fights to Stop Sale of Stolen Relics (Times of India)