France's Pinault family wins Beijing's praise with offer to donate looted Qing dynasty bronzes

The family that runs French luxury-goods conglomerate PPR has won plaudits from Beijing for offering to donate a pair of looted Qing dynasty bronzes to the Chinese government.

The State Administration of Cultural Heritage said Friday's offer from company CEO Francois-Henri Pinault was "an expression of friendship toward the Chinese people."

The pieces to be returned are the bronze heads of a rat and rabbit that were among 12 animal heads that were looted from the old Summer Palace in Beijing that was sacked by French and British troops in 1860 during the Second Opium War.

PPR owns brands such as Gucci and Alexander McQueen that are thriving in China's booming luxury market. Pinault was traveling in China with French President Francois Hollande on a visit to strengthen economic ties.