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China demands 'severe punishment' for man who stole thumb from terracotta warrior

20 February 2018

The statue, which is a cavalryman, dates back to at least 209 B.C. It is one of 10 Chinese terracotta warrior statues now on display at the Franklin Institute in Pennsylvania.

According to the investigation spearheaded by the FBI, last year, during the Ugly Sweater Party hosted by the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, 24-year-old Michael Rohana, a U.S. partygoer, somehow managed to slip off during the party and break into the museum's terracotta soldier exhibition.

"We ask that the United States severely punish the perpetrator", Wu said Monday, according to BBC News, which cited CCTV.

The statue Rohana allegedly defaced is called the Cavalryman and dates to around 210 B.C. The museum has said the statue valued at $4.5 million will be repaired.

Rohana was charged last week with theft and concealment of an artwork, and interstate transportation of stolen property, according to the New York Times.

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News of the theft has prompted outrage in China, which had loaned 10 statues from among the 8,000 life-size clay warriors that make up the Terracotta Army to the Philadelphia museum.

The terra-cotta warrior statues at the Franklin Institute were on loan from China for a special exhibit that began in September 2017.

"As a result of this incident, we have thoroughly reviewed our security protocol and procedures and have taken appropriate action where needed", the institution said.

During the event, Rohana and a few of his friends entered the closed off terracotta warrior exhibit, and after his friends left, Rohana took a selfie with one of the statues, according to surveillance footage and court documents. He was released on bail.

The Terracotta Army is one of China's most important archaeological finds.

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The FBI agent tracked Rohana back to his home in Bear, Delaware, where the young man admitted to having stashed the thumb in a desk drawer.

"The terracotta warriors are national treasures of our country", the unnamed official was quoted as saying.

"We ask that the USA severely punish the perpetrator". "Their historical and artistic value are impossible to value. we express strong resentment and condemnation towards this theft and the destruction of our heritage".

The warriors were first uncovered in 1974 by a group of Chinese farmers. The exhibit will run until March 4.

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

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China demands 'severe punishment' for man who stole thumb from terracotta warrior