Dutch collector puts conditions on stolen Buddha statue's return to China

Updated: 2015-12-08 17:12


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Dutch collector puts conditions on stolen Buddha statue's return to China

The Buddha statue is displayed at the Natural History Museum in Budapest, Hungary, March 4, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

"I've suggested adding the statue to a series of Chinese collections. In that case, if someone buys them for China, no one knows the single price of the statue. However, they refused to do so," Oscar van Overeem said.

"I've told the Chinese government in September that if they would buy the statue with other relics, the single price of the statue would be much cheaper than 20-30 million US dollars, which is the asking prices of other people who planned to buy it from me," he said.

The collector once said that he bought the statue for 40,000 Dutch guilders ($20,500) in 1996 from a collector in Amsterdam who had acquired it in Hong Kong, and refused to sell it despite the steep offer of ten million Euros ($10.85 million).

Some European collectors gathered a set of Chinese cultural relics and tried to find an intermediary to sell it in 2013. Oscar van Overeem recently added the mummified Buddha statue to that collection.

According to Xinhua News Agency, the collector wished to return the statue a 1,000-year-old temple in Xiamen city of Fujian province called NanPutuo Temple. The Temple issued a certificate that they had never enshrined and worshipped any mummified Buddha statue in history and would not worship it in the future, but the collector still insisted to return the statue to that temple.

According to the Global Times website, the villagers hired a group of lawyers and filed a lawsuit to the Intermediate People's Court in Sanming city of Fujian province, addressing the Dutch collector's infringements relating to the villagers' property rights, personal rights, as well as spiritual rights. If necessary, they will implement legal struggles in Holland.