The Anti-Smuggling Bureau of the Beijing Customs has successfully recovered two valuable Buddhist statues from the Ming Dynasty that were illicitly taken out of the Chinese mainland. (Photo/The Beijing Customs)
The Anti-Smuggling Bureau of the Beijing Customs has successfully recovered two valuable Buddhist statues from the Ming Dynasty that were illicitly taken out of the Chinese mainland, media learned from the Beijing customs on Tuesday.
Officers from the Beijing Customs Anti-Smuggling Bureau, Daxing Airport Customs, and the Beijing People's Procuratorate participated in a handover ceremony for the recovered smuggled cultural relics, which took place at the terminal of Daxing International Airport.
In December 2020, the Beijing Customs Anti-Smuggling Bureau discovered after preliminary investigations that two Buddhist statues were illegally smuggled out of the Chinese mainland through Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province and taken to Hong Kong.
According to the expert appraisal, the two Buddhist statues are identified as a gilded bronze statue of Shakyamuni Buddha and a gilded bronze statue of Shakyamuni Buddha wearing a crown. Both statues are confirmed to be cultural relics from the Ming Dynasty.
The two Buddhist statues, combining the artistic styles of Tibetan Buddhism and Han Chinese sculpture, serve as objects of worship. They possess distinct characteristics of their time and hold significant value for Buddhist research, and both statues are classified as cultural relics prohibited from being taken out of the Chinese mainland.
In recent years, Beijing Customs has actively conducted special operations to combat the smuggling of cultural relics and has reminded the public that any act of smuggling out of the country is illegal.
According to the Criminal Law of China, those involved in the smuggling of cultural relics can face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if the circumstances are particularly severe, the Beijing Customs reminded, adding that the smuggling case of the two Buddhist statues from the Ming Dynasty is under further investigation.