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Herdsman loses bid to get meteorite from local govt

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-01-09 16:42

An intermediate court has rejected the appeal of a herdsman to reclaim the ownership of a giant meteorite from a local government in Xinjiang.

The Intermediate People's Court of Altay Prefecture ruled that the herdsman could not provide any evidence to prove his ownership of the rock, and according to China's law on minerals, the rock should belong to the nation.

The Kazak herdsman, Zhuman, found the 17-ton meteorite when he was grazing his herd in July 1986, and reported it to the local government that then asked Zhuman to safeguard it.

The rock was classified as a meteorite in Sept 2011. Then, the prefecture government took away the stone from Zhuman's pastures in 2011 for better protection and gave him 20,000 yuan ($3,077) fees for guarding the rock.

Zhuman, who believes that since he found the rock he should have the ownership, previously filed two lawsuits against the prefecture government to reclaim it, but both his appeals were rejected.

The region's high court region sent the case back to Altay court for a retrial after Zhuman launched another appeal.

The court did not support Zhuman's claim of his ownership during the trial on Jan 3 and ruled in favor of the local government's claim that the rock is a kind of natural resource with high value of study and belongs to the government.

However, according to Zhuman's lawyer, Sun Yi, there is no clear law in China defining the ownership of a foreign matter such as the meteorite in this case.

"There is no solid legal proof to determine whether the meteorite belongs to Zhuman or the local government," said Sun.

The rock is the second-largest meteorite found in China and the fourth-largest in the world.

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