Updated 8:44 AM EDT, Wed, Aug 18, 2021

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Canada Returns Smuggled Cultural Artifacts to China

Canada safely returned three smuggled cultural artifacts from China.

(Photo : YouTube Screenshot) Canada safely returned three smuggled cultural artifacts from China.

The Ministry of Canadian Heritage has returned the illegally exported valuable cultural properties to China in an official ceremony held in Ottawa on Wednesday.

China received cultural properties including a Saurichthys fish fossil believed to be 220 million years old; an Ichthyosaur fossil, which is a dolphin-like reptile with long snout and big eyes, estimated to be 250 million years old; and a pair of carved wooden roof support for Buddhist architecture from China's Yunnan Province.

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The items were smuggled from China and were intercepted by the Canada Border Service Agency and Police. The valuable relics were claimed by China as their properties and requested for their return.

Wang Wentian, charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa, expressed his sincere thanks to Canada for granting the country's return request.

This is the third time Canada returned cultural heritage objects to China. In 2010, it returned 35 historical remains of fish, insect, plant, and reptile believed to be between 125 and 150 million years old from Liaoning province.

Because of this, Wang lauded Canada's commitment to prevent illegal traffic of cultural properties and return to its country of origin, adding that Canada truly honors the 1970 UESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. Canada has returned illegally exported cultural valuables to 12 states since 1997.

China has been severely plagued with loss of cultural relics overseas. It signed bilateral agreements with 18 other nations to curb cultural property smuggling and illegal trafficking.

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