Chinese internet users have accused Warner Bros of insulting China after the Hollywood studio announced it would make an art heist movie suggesting the Chinese government was behind a series of international art museum thefts. The Great Chinese Art Heist will be directed by Jon Chu, the director of Crazy Rich Asians , and adapted by writers Jimmy O. Yang, Jessica Gao and Ken Cheng. The film will be based on a GQ article by Alex Palmer published in 2018 about major thefts of Chinese art and antiquities from palaces and museums across Europe. Most of the stolen treasures were originally pilfered when Western armies invaded and ransacked palaces in China. The article, titled “The Great Chinese Art Heist”, posed the question: “Is the Chinese government behind one of the boldest art-crime waves in history?” A theft from the Chinese museum of Chateau de Fontainebleau, the sprawling former royal estate just outside Paris, is one of the crimes noted by Palmer. Thieves stole 15 treasures from the museum in a well-executed six-minute robbery in 2015. The bulk of the museum’s collection had been taken from China by French soldiers in 1860 when Beijing’s Old Summer Palace was sacked by invading Western armies. Articles and films about the looting of the Old Summer Palace always touch a nerve in China, and the ruins of the destroyed palace serve as a painful reminder of a humiliating chapter in Chinese history, according to cultural critics. One online user said on Weibo, China’s Twitter: “Chinese people have nothing to do with the  Chateau de Fontainebleau art heist. Even though many of the artefacts displayed in the museum were looted by the French [in the 19th century], we wouldn’t steal them back. The stolen artefacts that are back in China now were either bought by Chinese, or returned to China after government negotiations.” Another user said: “The descendants of bandits are also bandits. The bandits stole stuff and refused to return it to the original owners. Now they lost the loot and vilify the original owners for stealing it without evidence. It’s like calling black white.” Popular Beijing-based entertainment commentator Zhu Qirui says it is understandable that Chinese people reacted angrily to news of the planned movie. “Just mentioning the stolen art treasures touches a raw nerve among Chinese people because it reminds them of this painful chapter in China’s history.” According to Zhu, a former Hong Kong entertainment reporter, making a movie based on the GQ article is tantamount to endorsing the conspiracy theory it postulates. “It’s disheartening that Hollywood decided to base the movie on an article that insinuated the Chinese government is behind the robberies. It’s like they agree with the stance adopted by the article’s author. “Like some Westerners’ claims that the coronavirus outbreak originated in China, I see the plan to make the movie as a Western ploy to discredit China on the international stage.” The Post has reached out to Warner Bros for comment.