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Swindle suspected in relic sale
By Liu Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-03-30 00:47

A Guilin city man appeared in Beijing court Monday, charged in connection to a swindle involving falsely identified cultural relics.

The case, which was heard in Beijing Yanqing County People's Court Monday, is centred around the 1.2-million-yuan (US$145,000) sale of a fake Song Dynasty porcelain.

Authorities believe that in early 2001, Li Shiyuan, a 54-year-old native of the city in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, took a porcelain artifact to Beijing. He claimed it was produced at the Ruzhou Kiln, in today's Linru County, in Central China's Henan Province, during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The area is famous for quality Song Dynasty porcelain artifacts.

Using the alias of Lin Donghe, Li claimed to have bought the artifact in 1999 in Henan, said the public indictment by the Beijing Yanqing County People's Procuratorate.

He then took the artifact to the cultural relic protection laboratory of the National Museum of Chinese History for authentication in 2001.

The laboratory did not authenticate the artifact, but Li altered the documents to say the piece matched those produced at the Ruzhou Kiln during that period.

The suspected swindler then showed the fake result to Liu Shuqin, 44-year-old manager at the Yanqing-based Manyuanchun Agricultural Technology Development Company.

In June 2001, Liu bought the artifact for 500,000 yuan (US$60,400) and a written pledge for another 700,000 yuan (US$85,000).

However, the Beijing Municipal Cultural Relic Appraisement Committee confirmed afterwards that the artifact is a fake and Li was arrested in April 2003 by the Xuanwu Branch of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Public Security.

The court made no decision Monday.

Cultural relic swindles have cropped up in large cities across the country as the price of relics continues to rise.

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