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Hunt for Roman legion reaches China

20 November 2010


Hunt for Roman legion reaches China

Anthropologists are looking into the possibility that some European-looking Chinese in Northwest China are the descendants of a lost army from the Roman Empire, and a Beijing film producer is reportedly spending millions to turn the villagers’ story into a film.

Cai Junnian has yellow wavy hair, a hooked nose and green eyes. A DNA test in 2005 confirmed he is of 56 percent European origin.

Reporters, filmmakers, historians and geneticists from around the world pursued him. He was invited to meetings with the Italian consul in Shanghai and even appeared in a documentary shot by an Italian TV company last year.

Lanzhou University’s new research body, set up this week by Chinese and Italian anthropologists, is a platform for experts to further research the subject but “the research work will certainly be complicated”, said Italian Ambassador to China Riccardo Sessa.

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