New video series draws attention to plundered Chinese relics held by British Museum
Published: Aug 29, 2023 10:34 PM
Screenshot from Sina Weibo

Screenshot from Sina Weibo

A video series named Escape from the British Museum will be released on Wednesday, with its trailer having sparked a lot of discussion in China's social media recently. 

Directed by two Chinese vloggers, the three-episode series tells the story of how a Chinese cultural relic escapes from the British Museum and finds its way back to China.

The trailer for the series has been trending online since it was released on Sunday, sparking discussion about how the British Museum should return Chinese relics plundered by the UK. It has now been viewed on Sina Weibo more than 1.5 million times. 

The Global Times published an editorial on Sunday night, urging the museum to return Chinese relics acquired through improper channels to China free of charge.

The videos were inspired by a netizen who suggested making a video chronicling the ordeal of Chinese cultural relics returning home from the UK to celebrate the Chinese lunar New Year.

In the video series, a female vlogger plays the role of an ancient Chinese jade teapot, while her male partner is a journalist who helps the artifact return to China.

The duo went to the UK in June and spent three months shooting the video. They said the story is based on historic facts and aims to draw attention to the Chinese cultural relics held abroad.

Many netizens said they looked forward to the video and posted comments about the trailer. "We can see the achievements of Chinese culture from these lost relics, and a sense of helplessness and anger toward the plunderers. We hope to see more works of this kind," said one Weibo user.

Currently, the museum has a total of 23,000 Chinese relics, while about 2,000 Chinese relics are on long-term display. The Chinese objects, spanning from the Neolithic age to the present, include paintings, prints, jade and ceramics.

In 1860, the Second Opium War (1856-60) culminated in British and French troops sacking the Old Summer Palace, or Yuanmingyuan, in Beijing. The looted art and cultural artifacts subsequently made their way to museums and private collections across Europe.