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China museum closed over fake exhibits: reports

BEIJING -- A Chinese museum has been ordered to close after thousands of its historical exhibits were found to be fake, state-run media said on Thursday.

Police shut down the Lucheng Museum, in the northeastern province of Liaoning, after finding that almost a third of the 8,000 items on display were not genuine, the Global Times newspaper reported.

Counterfeits on show included a sword touted as dating from the Qing Dynasty and worth 120 million yuan (US$19 million), the report said.

China is on a museum building spree, with 299 new establishments registering last year, according to state media.

But its antiques market is said to be rife with fakes, posing a problem for the country's growing ranks of private collectors.

A Chinese tycoon who has two museums is embroiled in a row with experts from the state-backed Shanghai Museum over the authenticity of a scroll he paid more than US$8 million for at a Sotheby's auction in New York.

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