I did it for China.

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I think one thing a lot of westerners are not entirely aware of is just how fanatically patriotic a lot of Chinese people are towards China. Despite poverty, repression, excessive pollution and any number of other issues, the vast majority of Chinese remain stoutly patriotic. They love China. China to them is more than just a country, it is their being. Of course it doesn’t help that it’s drilled into them from a very early age. Most Chinese wouldn’t even be aware that most of what they think they know is just in fact government propaganda. It will be an interesting day indeed if one day they suddenly wake up and realise that hey, it isn’t all that. I somehow doubt it will though.

In a recent act of patriotism, a Chinese man named Cai Mingchao won the auction for two ancient artifacts. The pair of Chinese zodiac statues sold for a whopping 19 million euros. Mr Cai could not afford this – flatly stating that he could not afford it and, “I believe that any Chinese person would stand up at this time… I am making an effort to fulfil my own responsibilities.”

You see Mr Cai, in the name of China, was trying to reclaim looted goods for his country. Now I have to say that here I almost agree with what he has done. These two statues were supposedly looted from the Imperial Summer Palace in 1860, during the end of the second Opium War. If you are familiar with Chinese history, you will be aware of this happening on a very regular basis. China has been at the butt-end of many invasions – most of which saw hundreds of priceless relics shipped off to places such as Europe.

If your country had been invaded, your history stolen, would you do similar? The Chinese government was greatly upset by auction-house Christies that they would in fact sell these items and not return them. I guess time can blur a lot of these issues. Is it right? If you have a looted item for a certain amount of time does it suddenly justify your ownership?

British soldiers had once tried to scrape gold from this water cauldron inside the Forbidden City, Beijing

British soldiers had once tried to scrape gold from this water cauldron inside the Forbidden City, Beijing

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