Editor's Note,
Yuanmingyuan, or the Old Summer Palace, issued a proposal on Oct 18, 2010, to protect its lost cultural relics, as a memorial to the 150th anniversary of the looting of the imperial garden. The proposal, part of commemorations held by the park administration, urged owners of Yuanmingyuan relics to resist the temptations of the antique trade and return them.

Debate: Should we bring the looted Yuanmingyuan relics back? 

Yes. The cultural relics are our national treasures, not private property. China has the right to take those looted treasures back through legal procedures.  

No. We don't need to bring back lost relics. Countless stolen Chinese relics are scattered around the world. It's not practical, nor feasible, to bring them all back.

Please click here to cast your vote and see the results.


Imperial relics from Yuanmingyuan


History of Yuanmingyuan will teach us a lesson
The message China should send to the West and to the whole world on this 150th anniversary is that of global peace and harmony among the different civilizations. Chinese scholars should come forward in denouncing the Samuel Huntington's theory of "Clash of Civilization". We must emphasize the fact that the rise of China and India is a peaceful rise and they are not a threat to any other country or civilization.>>>

On 150th anniversary of sacking of Old Summer Palace, Chinese reflect
French writer Victor Hugo criticized the destruction of Yuanmingyuan in his "Expedition de Chine (Expedition to China)," in which he likend the looting to "two robbers breaking into a museum, devastating, looting and burning, leaving laughing hand-in-hand with their bags full of treasures; one of the robbers is called France and the other Britain." >>>

Stolen relics
Various relics from these gardens now grace the galleries and storehouses of museums worldwide, when their rightful place is here at home. Yet hardly anything abroad is being done to return them to China, the relics' rightful home. >>>


Documenting the past key to repatriation

Although Chen Mingjie, director of the Yuanmingyuan Administrative Office, has said on various occasions that the team of eight historians and experts on cultural relics protection who visited the United States last December were on a scholarly trip, it was still interpreted by the domestic and foreign media as a hunt for treasures looted from the Old Summer Palace.

Whatever its purpose it highlights one thing, getting any of the artifacts back is likely to prove extremely difficult for the 150-year-old royal garden. >>> 

Imperial relics from Yuanmingyuan

Bringing China's treasures home

The lost treasures of Yuanmingyuan, the Old Summer Palace, the very words have the ring of myth. And yet, the treasures existed. The destruction and looting of the park by British and French troops in 1860, during the Second Opium War, was described at the time by the author Victor Hugo as: "Two robbers breaking into a museum, devastating, looting and burning, leaving laughing hand-in-hand with their bags full of treasures."

Imperial relics from Yuanmingyuan 

Relics auctioned & relics returned  


Relics in Yuanmingyuan Park auctioned

Two precious Chinese cultural relics -the bronze rat and hare statues - stolen by the Eight-nation Allied Forces from Beijing's Yuanmingyuan, more than a century ago auctioned off overseas. >>>


Imperial relics from Yuanmingyuan

Tycoon buys looted treasure for nation

Macao gaming tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun has bought a rare bronze horse head plundered by British and French troops in the 19th century for HK$69.1 million ($8.84 million) and donated it to the motherland.>>>

Imperial relics from Yuanmingyuan

Imperial relics on display in Beijing

The following slide shows some of the 85 pieces of the returned relics of Yuanmingyuan on display in Beijing to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the imperial garden on Sept 27, 2010. At least 1.5 million pieces of treasure were lost, and most of them are now overseas.