On April 24th, the cultural relics repatriated from Italy showed at National Museum of China in Beijing. Themed as “The Journey Back Home – An Exhibition of Chinese Artifacts Repatriated from Italy”, 796 artifacts are showed to the visitors. Most of these cultural relics are not approved for export. They have been buried, excavated and illegally moved overseas.
These artifacts were found in 2007 in an antique market in Milan by the Italian police squad assigned to fight cultural heritage-related crime, according to the Minister of Culture and Tourism Luo Shugang. The Chinese embassy in Italy was informed of the case in 2008, and China's National Cultural Heritage Administration soon began the process of identifying the artifacts and checking them against export documents.
In recent years, China has gained the repatriation of many lost cultural relics from overseas. In March this year, President Xi Jinping and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte oversaw the signing of an intergovernmental agreement in Rome to formally give the green light for repatriation of the artifacts, which arrived in Beijing on April 10th. China has signed bilateral agreements to fight cross-border crimes involving cultural relics with 21 countries including Italy.
Italy and China are the nations with the largest numbers of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The repatriation of the cultural relics will set an example for the rest of world. The artifact exhibition will run until late June.