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Jackie Chan. [Photo: chinesefilms.cn]
Actor Jackie Chan has donated replicas of 12 fountainheads stolen from the Old Summer Palace during the 19th century to the attraction, and urged the return of all of the genuine articles.
The model heads of Chinese Zodiac animals were used as props in Chan's latest film, "Chinese Zodiac," which will debut in the Chinese mainland on Dec. 20.
Chan said the film, depicting the protagonist's efforts to repatriate the 12 animal heads to China, aims to tell people to respect cultural heritage and urge the real-life repatriation of these antiquities to their original owner.
"These cultural relics are the common property of human beings, and nobody should steal and loot these treasures for selfish desires," he said at a ceremony held on Tuesday.
The 12 bronze Zodiac statues were part of what is known as the Water Clock at Haiyantang in the Old Summer Palace, or Yuan Ming Yuan, the then imperial garden in the 19th century.
They represent 12 symbolic animals associated with the 12-year cycle of the Chinese lunar calendar. They were lost during the Second Opium War (1856-1860), when invading British and French troops looted artifacts and then destroyed the great garden.
Five of the 12 genuine Zodiac statues have been returned to China.
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