Project 211

Books stolen from scholar found

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 December, 2009, 12:00am


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Beijing police have recovered all the books and relics stolen from the former home of the late Ji Xianlin, one of the nation's most prominent scholars, and are holding two suspects, his son says.

Ji Cheng said that one of the suspects was a former male housekeeper employed by his father's secretary, Li Yujie , while the other was the secretary's goddaughter. He declined to comment on whether Li was behind the theft.

'I think they have gone crazy to lay their hands on his property - they didn't care about the consequences,' he said.

Ji discovered last Wednesday his father's home on the Peking University campus had been broken into and about 5,000 ancient books, dozens of statues, several bronze busts, an academic gown and many old photographs had disappeared.

He alleged Li had stolen about 30 cultural relics in his father's collection while he was still alive. He said he had not reported her to police after the items were returned.

When contacted by the South China Morning Post, Li's assistant denied Li had been involved in any theft. She said Li was in her 80s and had been in hospital with high blood pressure, so it was impossible for her to have been involved.

Calls to a university spokesman went unanswered yesterday, although the university said on its website it was 'highly concerned' about the incident. Haidian district police declined to comment on the case.

Ji has been battling Peking University over the ownership of a collection of 600 other relics that belonged to his father. The university had finally acknowledged that the items belong to him, he said.

Ji Xianlin died in July, aged 97.