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Looted relics sold for 14 mln euros each
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Ren Xiaohong, a lawyer for APACE, told Xinhua that it was "of great significance" to file the lawsuit. "We hope to arouse public attention in Europe on the fate of numerous Chinese works stolen in the past, to help keep those relics well protected and collected," Ren said.

"My heart sank when the court refused our appeal," said Bernard Gomez, president of APACE, adding that "I hope the bidders are Chinese, I hope the two relics could go home eventually."

Bernard Brizay, French historian and journalist, as well as the author of "1860: the Looting of the Summer Palace" told Xinhua after the two bronzes were sold that he could understand the Chinese feelings towards the two relics. He said, "the two bronzes should be returned to China, no matter who got the bids."

The bronze sculpture of a rat's head, which is an ancient Chinese relic, is auctioned in the Grand Palace of Paris in Paris, France, Feb. 25, 2009. Two controversial ancient Chinese relics including the bronze sculptures of a rat's head and a rabbit's head, were auctioned off on Wednesday night for 14 million euros each by anonymous telephone bidders in Christies's sale of the collection of Yves Saint Laurant and Pierre Berge in Paris. The sculptures were looted by invading Anglo-French expedition army in the 19th century, when the invaders burned down the royal garden of Yuanmingyuan in Beijing.[Zhang Yuwei/Xinhua] 

Brizay also scorned on the offer by Pierre Berge, Yves Saint Laurent's partner. He used five "stupid" on Berge's words. " Combining the two relics with human rights and Tibet issues has no difference with blackmailing for ransom," he said.

The Chinese government formally called on Tuesday for the cancellation of the auction of the two bronzes. "The State Administration of Cultural Heritage has formally informed the auctioneer of our strong opposition to the auction, and clearly demanded its cancellation," said Ma Chaoxu, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman in a press conference.

"Using the pretext of human rights to infringe on the Chinese people's fundamental cultural rights is just ridiculous," Ma said.

The two bronze sculptures are part of the art collection of the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. So far, five of the 12 bronze animal fountainheads have been returned to China, while the whereabouts of five others are unknown.

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