Published: Tue, February 20, 2018

China to send team to United States to fix Terracotta warrior statue

China to send team to United States to fix Terracotta warrior statue

Chinese authorities are demanding exemplary punishment for an American man who allegedly stole a terracotta warrior's thumb after taking a selfie with it at a museum in Pennsylvania.

Rohana, who comes from the U.S. state of DE, was attending an ugly Christmas jumper party at the museum when he and two associates managed to make their way into the "Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor" exhibition, the door to which was unlocked, the Beijing Youth Daily report said.

HONG KONG-The warrior was a symbol of martial strength, moulded from terracotta and buried more than 2,000 years ago with China's first emperor to defend him in the afterlife.

Security cameras show Rohana putting his hand on the left hand of the statue, and then appearing to break something off from its left hand and put it in his pocket before leaving the room, according to an arrest affidavit.

The FBI said Rohana snuck away from the party and used a cellular telephone as a flashlight to look at exhibits that were displayed in a closed-off showroom.

The head of the group that loaned the statues to the Franklin Institute, Wu Haiyun, told Chinese television a "serious protest" has been lodged with the US over the incident, The Guardian reported.

He was released on bail on February 13.

Wu said the center would send two experts to Franklin to check the damage and fix the thumb - and that there'd be a claim for compensation.

Built around 209 BC to stand guard over the tomb of the first emperor, the 8,000-strong Terracotta Army is one of China's most important archaeological discoveries, and considered a symbol of ancient Chinese artistic and military sophistication.

The FBI traced the item back to Rohana after the Philadelphia museum noticed it was missing on January 8.

"We call on the United States to severely punish those who have done [this]", Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relic Exchange Center's director told the Beijing Youth Daily, a state-run Chinese newspaper. The suspect admitted to authorities that he had hidden the thumb in his desk drawer.

Wu also "strongly condemned" the Franklin Institute for not looking after the statues, according to CCTV. The statues are on display at the museum until March 4.

Another group of terracotta warriors is now on display at the World Museum in Liverpool, England.

An external security contractor did not follow "standard closing procedures" on the night of the party, Santo said last week.

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