China’s Peking University to investigate graffiti found on ancient bell

Inner surface of century-old bell found to be covered in scribblings, though they may have been there for years

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 August, 2017, 12:56pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 August, 2017, 12:56pm

Authorities at Peking University in Beijing have begun an investigation after discovering that several ancient artefacts in its grounds had been covered in graffiti, local media reported.

The defaced items include a giant copper bell that forms part of a clock tower close to Weiming Lake in the north of the campus, reported on Thursday.

Its inner surface was found to have been adorned with hundreds on inane scribblings, like “I love Beida” [the nickname for Peking University] and “Love you forever Momo”. The vast majority were written in Chinese, though some were in English and Korean.

The report did not specify exactly what form the investigation would take, but an official from the university’s campus management team was quoted as saying that the “circumstances needed to be verified”.

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It seems unlikely that any culprits will be identified, however, as according to one student, the markings have been there for years.

According to local media reports, the defaced bell has been at its present site for more than a century, before which it was used by Qin dynasty politician Li Hongzhang. The carvings on its outer surface depict an ocean scene and an inscription in the Manchu language that reads, “Made in Qing Country, August 1896”.

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Peking University is regarded as one of the top two seats of learning in China, along with Tsinghua University, which is also in Beijing. Millions of students apply each year for the handful of places available.