China’s Xinhua news agency tries to put direct pressure on Christie’s after failing in court
Below is a quote from the Xinhua News Agency site. The article purports to be a news story covering threats of a boycott against Christie’s (repeatedly referred to as Christine’s here) and Yves Saint Laurent which is no longer owned by Pierre Bergé. All references are, of course, to the sale later today of the two statues from the Beijing Summer Palace Zodiac clock:
Dezhao Zhou, head of the American Chinese Collector’s Association, said the two sculptures could be worth more than 30 million U.S. dollars in today’s arts and antiques market.
“Although they are not the most valuable ones among the great amount of Chinese antiques scattered around the world, they are symbols of China’s national shame and the auction house’s activities badly hurt the feelings of Chinese people,” he said.
Zhou said his association and the Eastern Cultural Foundation urge the Chinese government to deal with the French government over the issue, and do its best to safeguard justice and national pride. Under UNESCO’s Convention on Stolen and Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, any cultural relics looted or lost during wars should be returned without any limitation of the time span.
“If Christine’s still continues to take its own course and carry out the irresponsible action, we suggest the Chinese government suspend the business activities of Christine’s in China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and we strongly urge all Chinese collectors and antique dealers in China and overseas to stop doing business with Christine’s,” Zhou said.
A member of Zhou’s group even suggested that all Chinese consumers around the world boycott fashion products by Yves Saint Laurent, whose estate decided to sell the looted Chinese relics, part of the private art collection of the late French designer.