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Experts On The Take: Dissecting A Chinese Penchant For Fraud In High Places

Essay: Widespread allegations in China of corruption among experts in the antique business is a metaphor for a society where the highest forms of knowledge have become a means to an end.

Forbidden City's Palace Museum (beltzner)
Forbidden City's Palace Museum (beltzner)
Wu Yue Sanjen

BEIJING - The "Jade dress' is an object that existed in the ancient burial rituals of China. Yes, the armor-like gold-threaded jade dress was a favorite outfit for the dead. It was said to be capable of preventing the corpse from corruption, and was a privilege naturally reserved only for the rich and nobility.

Occasionally, parts and bits as such dresses are found in the antique market, but rarely is a complete dress to be seen, nor is it likely to reach an ordinary collector's hand.

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Mariateresa Fichele

Fifteen years ago, Francesco kept busy by scamming people. He was a regular visitor to the beaches of Terracina, south of Rome, where he was caught several times selling counterfeit Ray-Ban sunglasses. Then came the drugs, which fed a serious substance-induced psychosis and eventually he tested positive for HIV.

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