China tells Britain’s Cameron to return looted treasures – Third World must demand too
Posted on December 5th, 2013

Shenali D Waduge

Off went Cameron to China in a huff thinking that Britain’s help was needed to prop up rising China’s economy. Lesson Cameron learnt humiliatingly was China is a great power Britain now is not. It was certainly no meeting of equals. If Cameron huffed and puffed in Colombo he certainly ended up groveling before China yet to no avail. If that was not enough to take back home China has demanded the return of priceless artefacts looted from Beijing in the 19th century. Now that China has set the ball rolling  is now time all former colonies start forwarding their lists and seek repatriation and reparations too.

 The tables have certainly turned. Decades back you will never imagine Western leaders bending before Asia’s giants we are now facing a total new ball game. Human Rights accusations from London end up voiceless landing in Beijing. Ban on British journalists go nothing beyond attempts to diplomatically solve matters. But China has made very clear who the boss is.

 China Centre for International Economic Exchanges headed by former Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan had just one question for the visiting British premier ‘when will Britain return the illegally plundered artefacts’ ” 23,000 items that British army looted. If a British officer wrote in the 19th century ‘you can scarcely imagine the beauty and magnificence of the places we burnt. It made one’s heart sore to burn them’ ” if it made a British soldier’s heart burn, Britain should imagine the heart ache it had given to 90% of the world it once ruled over. China made public its intention to demand the return of looted treasures in 2009 when it sent missions to museums in Britain and France to inspect 1.5million artefacts stolen during the Opium Wars.

 Britain has rejected requests by countries to return artefacts that adorn the British Museum (ART REPATRIATION)

 95% of the artifacts in the British Museum are stolen and vandalized objects , and not gifts or given for safe keeping as the British would have us believe. Don’t the English have artifacts of their own culture and own history that they can show in museums without having to steal and show case others?

 The same British government has made a huge fuss about returning art and treasures stolen by the Nazis during the second world war.  But they will not practice what they preach.

Some of the priceless artefacts unlikely to be returned are:

  • Elgin Marbles – classical Greek marble sculptures that Athens has long demanded be given back.
  • 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond ” placed on the Crown Jewels was taken from India in 1850 Britain rules out returning to India – “I’m afraid it’s staying put.” is what Cameron said to India.
  • Britain also refuses to return the Sultanganj Buddha, Amravati railings, a series of limestone carvings dating back to 100 AD, Saraswati idol, a sculpture of the deity from the Bhoj temple to India
  • Britain will also not return oldest and most pricess piece in the entire British museum — a 9000 year old Apsara carving ( Emperor Vikramaditya ). The vedic civilisation is the worlds first civilisation.  It flourished on the banks of the river Saraswati from 9000 BC to 4000 BC, 
  • 11 wooden tablets – Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the most important of the 500 or so priceless Magdala treasures  looted by Britain from Ethiopia in 1868  are hidden in a room in the British Museum is debarred from even its director Neil MacGregor.
  • Benin Bronzes, a collection of brass pieces from the royal palace in Benin City (modern Nigeria), cast during the 16th and 17th centuries, seized by British forces during the Punitive Expedition of 1897 and now housed in the British Museum;
  • Ghana asks Britain to return looted treasures –
  • Ethiopian President demands Britain returns stolen treasures –

History repeats itself.

 If countries had their treasures looted during colonial rule there is nothing to be surprised of the widespread looting that took place in Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, Kirkuk and other Iraqi cities following the fall of Saddam Hussain. The Iraqi National Museum was ransacked where 28 galleries with more than 171,000 irreplaceable artifacts, relics of past civilizations dating back 8000 years were wiped clean.

 These included the Sacred Vase of Warka [ 3200 B.C.], the Mask of Warka [ 3100 B.C.], the Golden Harp of Ur [ 2500 B.C.], the Bassetki Statue [2250 B.C.],  the twin copper Ninhursag Bulls [ca. 2475 B.C.].  Also stolen was a spectacular collection of more than 1,000 pieces of gold jewelry and precious stones from the eighth and ninth centuries B.C. that had been discovered between 1988 and 1990 by Iraqi archaeologist Muzahim Hussein Mahmud during his excavation of four royal tombs, and is considered by many to be one of the greatest archaeological finds. The museum’s entire card catalog was destroyed, making it impossible even to identify what has been lost.  

 The Mesopotamian civilisation along with the Vedic Indian civilisation is the oldest in the world– what was stolen , were all priceless– you can’t put a US dollar tag on it.

 Nevertheless, some artefacts have been returned. In 2010 France returned to Nigeria 4 artefacts which were over 400 years old unlawfully taken during colonial rule. France has also returned to Egypt five artefacts from the Ptolemaic dynasty (300 BC) that were smuggled out of the country after the 2011 uprising.

 In 2012, the British army did return to Afghanistan 843 individual objects dating back as far as the Bronze Age going back 4000 years. Among the most prized items are first-century AD furniture decorations known as the Begram Ivories and an important sculpture of Buddha from the second or third century AD, both stolen from Afghan museums during the 1992-94.

 The prestigious New York Museum of Metropolitan of Art also returned 2 large statues to Cambodia 

 However, with China now demanding the return of all looted items it shows how China is appealing to nationalism to bolster its popularity and this is what Sri Lanka and other rising Third World nations need to also follow.

 To sum up what China thought of Cameron and Britain, the editorial of the Chinese Government newspaper ” Global Times declared that Great Britain “should acknowledge that the UK is not a big power” in the eyes of China and admit it is now “merely a country of old Europe suitable for tourism and overseas study, with a few decent football teams.” This was a slap to what Cameron said that his visit was one of “dialogue of mutual respect and understanding.”

Be that as it may with Mau Mau survivors being compensated, Africa tabulating its colonial crimes and 14 Caribbean nations filing cases against all former colonial rulers it is now Asia’s turn to turn the tables on the West for centuries of domination with public apology and reparations. The West always demanding nations to show justice, accountability and transparency should have no problem in owning up to its crimes both colonial and contemporary.


9 Responses to “China tells Britain’s Cameron to return looted treasures – Third World must demand too”

  1. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    I fully support this movement since a similar movement has received international support. Any art stolen from the Jews during the Nazi era have to be returned. Israel has set up a department to track down private collections to Museum and Gallery acquisitions and once proved they have been stolen they are immediately confiscated and returned to the Jewish family and if there is no family left then to the Israeli state.

    “Stare Desisis”: “a precedent or authority is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive for a court or other tribunal when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts”. The return of stolen Jewish artifacts has set a “stare Decisis for nations who under imperial rule and even after have faced the relentless theft of their artifacts.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    Pardon my French ….. but BLOODY HELL … is this really possible?

    Is this the SAME David Cameron who supports the INCURABLE Racists of SRi Lanka demanding a TAmils-only racially segregated ethnic Bantustan in Sri Lanka, now declaring “A task force chaired by David Cameron said the policy of treating different cultures as ‘separate and distinct’ – known as multiculturalism – had been a ‘mistake’.”?

    We have pilloried David Cameron as a HYPOCRITE waving DOUBLE STANDARDS aloft before, but this takes the proverbial cake!

    Either he has a split personality, or is suffering from Advanced Alzheimers and does not know today what he said yesterday!

    Or, is it only a case of WHOSE OX is being GORED at any given time?

    Yesterday, it was Sri Lanka’s OX being GORED by incurably racist Eelamist Tamils; But today it is the Imperial Britain’s OX being GORED by Fanatical Muslims”!!

    So, Down with “Multiculturalism … says David beCame-Moron … who was all for Multiculturalism in Sri Lanka … espousing the Tamil Separatist cause … only Yesterday!

    Yo, David …. Ever heard of INCONSISTENCY and HYPOCRISY? Hello, is anyone in #10 Downing Street listening?

    Mistake of multiculturalism aided extremists says PM: Report finds politicians’ failure to tackle the hard-line views allowed fanaticism to take root

    – Task force said treating different cultures as ‘separate’ was an error
    – Report was scathing about the ‘reticence’ to confront Islamists
    – Was a response to the killing of solider Lee Rigby in Woolwich
    – Claimed the government must take ‘responsibility’ for allowing fanaticism to develop

    By James Slack
    December 4, 2013

    Timid politicians with a ‘misplaced’ fear of offending Muslims have allowed Islamist extremism to take root in the institutions of Britain, the Prime Minister warned yesterday.

    A task force chaired by David Cameron said the policy of treating different cultures as ‘separate and distinct’ – known as multiculturalism – had been a ‘mistake’.

    The panel said it was far easier to combat the fanaticism that leads to terrorism when different communities ‘come together to challenge it’.

    Yesterday’s report – a response to the killing of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich – was scathing about the ‘reticence’ of politicians to confront Islamists.

    It was published by Downing Street on behalf of Mr Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and a string of other senior Cabinet ministers.

    The report gives a stark warning of how – by being afraid to challenge hard-line views – politicians had allowed fanaticism to take root in a string of British institutions.

    It says: ‘The Government, as much as organisations and communities in the UK, must take responsibility.

    ‘We have been too reticent about challenging extreme Islamist ideologies in the past, in part because of a misplaced concern that attacking Islamist extremism equates to an attack on Islam itself.

    This reticence, and the failure to confront extremists, has led to an environment conducive to radicalisation in some mosques and Islamic centres, universities and prisons.’

    For three decades, Whitehall promoted a strategy of multiculturalism that Mr Cameron has previously described as ‘encouraging different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream’.

    The task force, which the PM personally chaired, warns this was a ‘mistake’. It says: ‘Extremism is less likely to be tolerated by communities which come together to challenge it.

    ‘Britain is stronger because of its open, multi-faith and multi-racial communities, which can tackle extremists together and challenge the view that it is not possible to be a true Muslim and be integrated in British society.

    ‘Approaches in the past that, on occasion, sought to deal with different communities as separate and distinct, were mistaken.’

    Mr Cameron called on the Government and wider society to ‘take action to confront extremism in all its forms, whether in our communities, schools, prisons, Islamic centres or universities’.

    He said yesterday: ‘I have been absolutely clear that this is not something we should be afraid to address for fear of cultural sensitivities.’

    The task force is recommending new civil powers – dubbed ‘Tebos’, or terror and extremism behaviour orders – to target extremists.

    They could be used to bar people from preaching messages of terror and hate, associating with named individuals thought vulnerable to radicalisation, and from entering specific venues such as mosques or community halls.

    Ministers also want new internet filters to block extremist websites and extended powers for watchdogs to shut down charities suspected of being fronts for extremist groups.

    The Government is also introducing a new definition of extremism which specifically includes a ‘distorted interpretation of Islam’ which argues against ‘liberal values such as democracy, the rule of law and equality’.

    In 2004 Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality – now the Equality and Human Rights Commission – said multiculturalism was out of date because it ‘suggests separateness’. He warned that Britain was sleepwalking into segregation.

  3. Fran Diaz Says:


    Definitely, a case of split personality here with PM Cameron.
    What a world. What a tragedy.


    The World Intellectual Property Organization, based in Geneva, has to step in to recover pirated artifacts and return them to the rightful owners. The days of Piracy are past, or is it just beginning for some countries with some valuable resources ?

  4. Nimal Fernando Says:

    Just imagine … how the mighty have fallen. Once callous colonisers are now calculating opportunists.
    This ‘little man’ from not-at-all Great Britain is unworthy of this much attention, even of the insulting kind.

    And dear Sir, it cannot be No 10 anymore. On a scale of 1-10 in world affairs, it should be more like 41/2!

    The tide has long turned. Yes, it’s time … time for Sri Lanka to demand reparations for all the plunder,
    and planting of the seeds of ethnic rivalry.

    As for any threats by any David from Britain or elsewhere — just say Bah!

  5. jay-ran Says:

    What happened to this BIG MOUTHED PARA SUDDA???

  6. jay-ran Says:

    What happened to this BIG MOUTHED PARA SUDDA???

  7. jayasiri Says:

    I am just wondering art from British looting Sri Lankan treasures, DID TAMIL & LTTE destroyed our Buddhist temples & take away treasures belonging to our temples?

    Even that is not resolved we should claim from TAMIL TIGERS to compnstae for 27 years of WAR brought upon a peaceful country. With ONLY 12 % of the population damnding never ending concessions. Of course as Mr. Charles Perra said, INDIA cannot get away easily either, according to Charles its amounts to 200.BILLION US dollars India owes us for training TERRORISTS & seding them to sri Lanka.

    Sri Lanka lost 30+ years of progress due to these ANIMALS’ behaviour & distruction brought upong innocent Sinhalese, Muslims & some tamils.

    Lets all demand from UK, India & LTTE proxies & Tamil dispora to pay up………Thanks all…..J

  8. Fran Diaz Says:

    Way to go, Jayasiri !

    Compensation must be demanded from those who have used Sri Lanka and her People in such a callous manner over long periods. Fight back legally, within the law. Appeasement won’t work. Unless we wake up and demand respect and compensation, we will be struck/used harder.

    There is a saying in Sinhela “thalena yakkadeta uda pana pane thalanawa” (translation: “If a piece of metal bends easily, the bender will jump up and down and hit it harder and harder”.

  9. Ananda-USA Says:

    Here comes a TNA MP bearing a “Gift Horse” to undermine the Sri Lankan Troy!

    NEVER involve international parties in any “accountability” effort in Sri Lanka … as this Tiger Nominated Agent proposes!

    Like Norway’s involvement which saw the slow legitimization of a terrorist group on the world stage, such an act will SLOWLY UNDERMINE Sri Lanka’s Sovereignty and INSTEAD OF ENDING the allegations will open up a CONTINUOUS PROCESS of foreign interference in Sri Lanka.

    NEVER AGAIN should such a thing be contemplated.

    We warned the GOSL that FAILURE to hold the Tiger Nominated Agents of the TNA ACCOUNTABLE for their support of LTTE terrorism and their TREASON against Sri Lanka at many different levels including inviting foreign invasions of our country, and EMPOWERING them through the Northern PC Election, will ONLY ENCOURAGE MORE TREACHERY.

    And as WE PREDICTED it has come to PASS that Sri Lanka’s difficulties have INCREASED, not ABATED by the ABJECT CAPITULATION to Terrorist Separatists and Foreign Powers plying their own agendas.

    At least NOW, the GOSL should backtrack, and implement the following

    9-POINT PROGRAM for Peace & Security in Sri Lanka

    1. REPEAL the 13th Amendment
    2. DISMANTLE the Provincial Council System
    3. ELIMINATE Indian Involvement in Reconstruction & Rehabilitation efforts in the North & East
    4. REDUCE Indian Involvement and Investment in Sri Lanka’s economy
    5. END Military cooperation with India; they can’t and don’t help SRi Lanka with any weapons ANYWAY!
    6. SECURE Sri Lanka’s coastline with coast guard and naval bases within EYESIGHT of each other to protect Sri Lanka’s Maritime resources and PREVENT illegal immigration, gun running, and goods smuggling
    7. LAUNCH a thorough investigation of the CITIZENSHIP STATUS of the residents of Sri Lanka to IDENTIFY & DEPORT upto 1.6 MILLION ILLEGAL aliens from TAmil Nadu as indicated by the 2012 Census.
    8. ADOPT Ethnic Integration as National Policy with the goal of achieving a UNIFORM ETHNIC DISTRIBUTION nationwide, without REGIONAL ethno/religious concentrations.
    9. INCREASE the number of Armed Forces camps and Personnel in former LTTE-infected territories, PERMANENTLY SETTLE military personnel AND their FAMILIES in the North and East as part of Ethnic Integration, providing land, good hmes, schools, hospitals and other INFRASTRUCTURE to INCENTIVIZE PERMANENT SETTLEMENT by Sinhala people in these areas. In the Final Analysis, Ethnic Integration of this kind is the only permanent hope for peace and security of the people of Sri Lanka.

    The END of CHOGM, and the CLEAR DISPLAY OF ENMITY by India, Tamil Nadu, and Western Nations with large Sri Lankan Eelamist Tamil Populations, has given the GOSL the PERFECT OPPORTUNITY to IMMEDIATELY IMPLEMENT the above 9-POINT PROGRAM in the National Interest.

    Carpe’ Diem! Seize the Day!

    Sri Lanka’s accountability issue will not go away unless government agrees to international involvement – Tamil MP

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Dec 07, Colombo: Sri Lanka’s major Tamil political party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) says international involvement is needed to resolve the accountability issues and bring reconciliation.

    TNA parliamentarian, M.A. Sumanthiran has said in parliament that that if the government agrees to an international inquiry or at least an international involvement in the process of resolving the differences, it will move the country forward.

    He noted that Sri Lanka now has a great opportunity to agree to a process under the aegis of the United Nations.

    Pointing out that questions of accountability will never go away until they are met squarely and sincerely, Sumanthiran said the government must make use of the opportunity to bring an end to the misery suffered by people for decades in the country.

    He added that the External Affairs Ministry should take note of this fact and redirect its course.

    According to Sumanthiran, the time between now and the next UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions that is less than six months away is enough if the government acts with sincerity.

    The international community is pressuring Sri Lankan government to conduct a credible and transparent inquiry into the allegations of war crimes and human rights violations to address the accountability issue.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron warned the government that UK will use whatever in their power at the UNHRC to bring an international probe if Sri Lankan government fails to conduct an independent probe by March 2014.

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