A French court has ruled against halting the sale of disputed Chinese artifacts heading for Christie's auction block in Paris. The judge had been expected to rule at midday on Monday but postponed the decision until later that evening.
A team of 80 Chinese lawyers has been working to have the bronze rat and rabbit heads returned to China through legal means. They faced off in a Paris court on Monday against lawyers for Christie's and the previous owner, Saint Laurent's estate, hours before the auction was scheduled to begin.
The artifacts are now set to be auctioned at 7p.m. Wednesday local time. The lawyers said they hope the case will help the world better understand the Chinese people's feelings about the lost antiques regardless of the court's ruling.
Both China and France signed a 1995 international convention stipulating that any cultural object looted or lost in war should be returned, with no limits on time span. Since then, France has not ratified it.
(CCTV February 24, 2009)