Trea­sure hunters taken in by ru­mor of buried jade

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By LI YINGQING in Kun­ming and TANG YUE in Bei­jing Con­tact the writ­ers at liy­ingqing@chi­ and tangyue@chi­

Through the cen­turies, left­over jade was dis­carded and buried in Teng­chong, a city boast­ing 600 years of his­tory in the jade in­dus­try.

Now, ru­mor had it that some­one had found a bracelet at a road con­struc­tion site in an old part of the city and sold it for 390,000 yuan ($58,400).

The ru­mor, which went vi­ral on­line on Mon­day, sparked a rush of trea­sure hunters with shov­els who wanted to dig for trea­sure. It turned out to be false. The hunters didn’t find valu­able jade, and the ru­mor­mon­ger was ar­rested.

Sit­u­ated near theMyan­mar bor­der in south­west­ern China, Teng­chong boasts 600 years of his­tory in the jade in­dus­try.

Many jade frag­ments were buried dur­ing the con­struc­tion of roads and houses years ago.

But Du Maosheng, chair­man of the Teng­chong Jew­elry and Jade As­so­ci­a­tion, said the pieces are gen­er­ally just waste ma­te­ri­als, left­overs from pro­cess­ing, and that it’s un­rea­son­able to ex­pect any­thing of great value to be found.

Cai Wen­wen, a woman who rushed to the con­struc­tion site when the ru­mor broke out, told China Peo­ple search for jade Daily that the jade she un­earthed con­sisted of noth­ing but small, bro­ken pieces.

Even so, an ad hoc jade­trad­ing mar­ket was formed on the street where peo­ple sold pieces they said they had found. There were even scam­mers who buried pieces of jade be­fore dig­ging them out and of­fer­ing them for sale, ac­cord­ing to Bei­jing Youth Daily.

The city’s pub­lic­ity de­part­ment made an an­nounce­ment on Tues­day af­ter­noon, warn­ing that it was dan­ger­ous to en­ter the area be­cause the road re­mains un­der con­struc­tion. It also warned peo­ple not to be­lieve “the ru­mor of get­ting rich overnight” and not to re­post un­founded hearsay.

in Teng­chong, Yun­nan prov­ince on Mon­day.

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