The New York Times follows the Chinese treasure hunters as they search the world’s museums–well, the Met–hoping to catch the Western imperialsts red-handed:
For the past two weeks, the delegation of Chinese cultural experts has swept through American institutions, seeking to reclaim items once ensconced at the Old Summer Palace in Beijing, which was one of the world’s most richly appointed imperial residences until British and French troops plundered it in 1860.
With a crew from China’s national broadcaster filming the visit, the Chinese fired off questions about the provenance of objects on display, and when it came to a collection of jade pieces, they requested documentation to show that the pieces had been acquired legally.
But then, with no eureka discovery, the tension faded. The Chinese pronounced themselves satisfied, smiled for a group photo, and drove away.
“That wasn’t so bad after all,” Mr. Watt said.
Chinese Team Searches Museums for Art Treasures (New York Times)