Treasure hunters taken in by rumor of buried jade

Updated: 2016-09-29 08:27

By Li Yingqing in Kunming and Tang Yue in Beijing(China Daily)

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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 the Myanmar 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 Daily that the jade she unearthed consisted of nothing but small, broken pieces.

Even so, an ad hoc jade-trading 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.

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 Treasure hunters taken in by rumor of buried jade

People search for jade in Tengchong, Yunnan province on Monday.Cai Wenwen / For China Daily

Treasure hunters taken in by rumor of buried jade

(China Daily 09/29/2016 page5)