Jackie Chan comes out fighting for China's
looted sculptures after YSL sale
The Times, Feb 17 2009
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
¤14 million (£12.5 million) each to two anonymous bidders
last night, despite Chinese objections.
Mr Chan said France had behaved disgracefully in allowing
the sale. “They remain looted items, no matter whom they
were sold to. Whoever took it out [of China] is himself a
thief,” he said . “It was looting yesterday. It is still
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
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.
“That would give the ‘stolen’ goods a coat of legitimacy,”
the Old Summer Palace museum said.