(TibetanReview.net, Aug23, 2018) – China said Aug 21 that its police had apprehended 16 what it called tomb raiders in a district of Tibet’s capital Lhasa and recovered 53 cultural relics from them. These included Buddha statues and bronzeware, reported the official xinhuanet.com/English Aug 21, suggesting some relics had already been sold by the suspects.
The report said the suspected ring had raided the ruins of a temple in Paggarxoi Village of Dagze District between June and July this year. Some of the suspects were captured at the site and others caught later, it added.
The report further said Local police were chasing other suspects involved, and retrieving cultural relics that had been sold.
The report did not mention the names or ethnic identity of the suspects. Nor did it say whether the temple ruin was ancient or one among the tens of thousands destroyed during China’s Cultural Revolution decade of 1966-76.
Earlier, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported Aug 19 that a total of 26 suspects had been arrested and 646 cultural relics retrieved in a major tomb robbery case which involves stolen items dating back to as early as the seventh century. The suspects were believed to be involved in the illegal excavation of tombs in Dulan (Tibetan: Tulan), a county in Qinghai province. It cited China’s Ministry of Public Security as saying the suspects were also involved in activities such as the brokerage and sales of stolen goods.
Sixteen of the retrieved items were stated to be classified as national grade-one cultural relics. The report said many of the items were of tremendous historical value as they show cultural exchanges and interactions between the East and the West during the early Tang Dynasty (618-907).