2009年2月23日星期一，法国巴黎格兰德法庭(Tribunal de Grande Instance of France)听取了一组中国律师的紧急申请，要求禁止佳士得拍卖两件有争议的中国古代文物。争议的,两个青铜雕塑,一只老鼠的一个头和一只兔子的另一头被英法军队洗劫圆明园在北京在1860年第二次鸦片战争期间,直到最近收集的一部分伊夫·圣·洛朗。然而，法庭拒绝了这项申请。随后，在2009年2月25日星期三，这些雕塑被以1400万欧元的价格拍卖给匿名电话竞标者。争议仍在继续。“这一事件有助于表明，中国在从非法出口的国际环境中找回类似被盗、被抢或其他文化物品方面普遍面临的法律困难。在考虑通过绝对合法的渠道遣返这些物品时，存在着一些障碍。
“On Monday 23 February 2009, the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris in France heard an urgent application by a team of Chinese lawyers for an injunction to prevent the auction by Christie’s of two controversial ancient Chinese relics. It was not in dispute that the two bronze sculptures, one of a rat’s head and another of a rabbit’s head had been looted by Anglo-French troops from the Old Summer Palace in Beijing during the Second Opium War in 1860 and had until recently been part of the collection of the late Yves Saint Laurent. The Tribunal nevertheless rejected the application. Subsequently, on Wednesday 25 February 2009, the sculptures were auctioned off for 14 million euros each to the anonymous telephone bidders. The controversy is ongoing.”This incident helps in demonstrating the lawful difficulties that China faces in general in retrieving the similarly stolen, looted or other cultural objects from international setting with illicit export. A number of obstacles are in existence when considering repatriating these items by absolutely lawful channels.
These are as follows:The absence of retroactive impact of significant international conventions: There seems to be no appropriate framework of treaty on which China may rely with its efforts for retrieving objects while being removed from the jurisdiction prior to the specific durations of history.The restricted binding force of significant international conventions: Nations against which China can place a legitimate claim for repatriating cultural objects are considerably less in number. Also, the conventions are known to be having no or less binding force on specific nations in whose jurisdiction there are several stolen culture based properties like the United Kingdom. Difficulties of obtaining evidence or proof: The circumstances with respect to stolen cultural objects and the relevant evidences are mostly obscure, such as the exact duration at which there had been stealing of properties, and who performed the loot. The collection of this information is difficult. Provisions in concern with the holders of good faith.Statutes of limitation: In this particular case, provisions of time limitation across the Civil Procedural Law of China and the Civil Code seem to be preventing additional claim for the actual ownership related to the relics of reference.