Herdsman Finds 8kg Gold Nugget, Must Hand Over to Government

A 7.85kg large gold nugget, discovered in China's Xinjiang, by a herdsman, who by law must hand it over to the government.

From NetEase:

Xinjiang Herdsman Finds 8kg Gold Nugget, Lawyer: Minerals Are Property of the State

On 2015 January 30, a 7.85kg gold nugget in was found by a Kazakh herdsman in Xinjiang’s Altay prefecture Qinggil county. According to local historians, this is the largest gold nugget ever found in Xinjiang.

When it comes to finding a natural piece of gold, who gets ownership? Shaanxi Qingang Law Firm lawyer Shi Weibin says this herdsman not only cannot keep the piece of gold he found, he also mustn’t sell it on the market.

A marvel

A brilliant yellow object lay exposed on the ground

On the morning of the 4th, this reporter contacted by phone the herdsman who had found the gold nugget. He lives in Qinggil county, and his family has for the past few years made a living raising livestock. In 2014, he and his friends joined together to search for gold, never expecting to accidentally find this gold nugget.

The herdsman excitedly said that around 7pm on 2015 January 30, he was walking around a mining site in Qinggil county as usual when suddenly he say a brilliant yellow object lying exposed on the ground. “When I walked closer, I was dumbfounded. My god, it was a piece of gold! I was so excited that I was jumping up and down.” Afterward, he rushed to call his family, and several of them carefully carried this gold nugget back home.

Because this gold nugget has a characteristic shape and is nearly 8kg in weight, making it very rare, news of it traveled around fast, with many people coming by one after another to admire it. This herdsman half-jokingly said: “My home is like a marketplace every day, with some people bringing cameras to take photographs, some posting it to their WeChat friends circle, and some taking photos with it.”


Gold piece 23 centimeters long, shaped like a large rooster

A Qinggil historical records office worker told this reporter that they rushed over to this herdsman’s home after learning about this matter on the afternoon of February 3rd. This natural piece of gold is 23 centimeters long, about 18 centimeters wide at its widest, and 8 centimeters thick at its thickest. What is even more peculiar is the piece of gold has almost artificial openwork, where it looks different from different angles, like a large footprint, a man sitting on the summit of a mountain, or as some say, even looking like a large rooster.

“While examining it, there was some sandstone and mud, their dirt color barely covering its shiny yellow golden color,” said the Qinggil historical records worker. According to their research, this piece of gold should be the largest gold nugget ever discovered in Xinjiang.

As it is understood, Xinjiang Altay prefecture was once known for its gold, and to this day, the people still pass down the saying “Altay has 72 ravines and every ravine has gold”. Moreover, “Altay” in Turkic means “gold”, and has had large scale gold mining/prospecting in the past.



Must pieces of natural gold that are found

be handed over to the state/government?

For several days now, numerous friends and family have come to the home of the herdsman who found the exceptionally large 7.85kg piece of gold, to behold this rare marvel. Some netizens have said this herdsman’s life has changed, becoming rich overnight, that he can sell the piece of gold, and improve his life. However, there are also netizens who worry, wondering if the gold will be confiscated by the state/government.

In regards to this, Chongqing Kangyu Law Firm attorney Chen Baoyan believes first an expert needs to appraise the piece of gold, and confirm that it is a natural mineral or cultural relic. If it is a natural mineral or cultural relic, then it must be handed over to the government. Shaanxi Qingang Law Firm attorney Shi Weibin says the herdsman not only cannot keep the piece of gold, he must not sell it on the market either.


“Natural gold is classified as a national precious material, a mineral resource, and according to the regulations of the Mineral Resources Law, it is considered property of the state.” Shi Weibin says if the herdsman keeps it, he may be prosecuted for illegal possession/appropriation. The Mineral resources Law stipulates that mineral resources are considered property of the state, with ownership exercised by the State Council; mineral resources on the surface or below the surface are property of the state, and ownership is not affected by the property rights or usage rights associated with the land; and organizations or individuals are prohibited from appropriating or destroying such mineral resources.

Shi Weibin says if it is appraised that the gold piece is a cultural relic, it too must be handed over to the government. According to the relevant provisions of the Cultural Relic Preservation Law, cultural relics discovered are considered property of the state, not to be violated, looted, privately split, or hidden by any work unit or individual. “The herdsman needs to give the gold piece to the local government, but the state needs to give him a suitable reward or storage fee,” claims Shi Weibin.

As of submission of this report, Xinjiang Qinggil county officials have yet to make a statement about this “gold nugget”.

Comments from NetEase:

vip3888 [网易山东省淄博市网友]:

I found a rock yesterday, over 1kg. I’m inquiring, which government department I should give it to?

弗洛伊德 [网易河南省焦作市手机网友]:

Are these lawyers coming out asking to be scolded? Stupid cunts.

网易吉林省长春市网友 ip:175.31.*.*

This herdsman sure is filial, knowing that government leaders lack a tribute for Chinese New Years.

null [网易广东省广州市手机网友]:

I just want to know where this lawyer lives, who his wife and children are.

north118 [网易天津市网友]:

If I stumble due to a stone on the road, should I also seek compensation from the owner of the stone (a mineral)?

网易江苏省连云港市手机网友 ip:58.223.*.*

Already guessed it.

实心眼250 [网易吉林省四平市网友]:

Hahaha, hilarious.

海事局林局长 [网易北京市网友]:

Motherfuckers. When you’re needed, you’re nowhere to be found, but when there’s profit to be had, you immediately appear!

沉默的记者 [网易加拿大网友]:

Sensationalism! Who can tell me: Is this person a lawyer or a donkey’s shit [a pun in Chinese]?

网易北京市朝阳区网友 ip:175.25.*.*

Is this conclusion unexpected? To whom do the polluted mountains, plains, and rivers belong to?

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  • Ken Morgan

    I really don’t get it. People find stuff and announce it. Stuff gets seized as it belongs to the government…
    Why announce it? Why take photos of it? Downplay it nah it turned out to be a petrified cow pat… keep it underwraps then sell it on the black market. His location in Qinggil means Mongolia and Russia are nearby. If normal blokes can smuggle entire motorbikes across the Mongolian.Chinese border (LoMotion biking team from Holland for instance and poor circulation biker team) then a small block of gold no problemo!

    • ClausRasmussen

      >> Why announce it? Why take photos of it?

      He was just a simple herdsman, now he is wiser…

      • KamikaziPilot

        Haha, that’s a very expensive life lesson.

  • zachary T

    just goes to show you. if You ever find a 20 pound gold nugget, DON”T TELL ANYONE! melt it down and make gold jewelry then sell the jewelry over the course of a year at different places, its your gold. get your money from it.

    • Ken Morgan

      No man it was a dried cow pat ;)

      • zachary T

        yes…..cow patty…>_>….<_<….

        • Vance

          From the Golden Calf that the Hebrews made when Moses was up on the mountain, perhaps?

    • Vance

      That’s a good suggestion. They could probably get awzy with that as long as they had equipment to do it. They would not want to entrust someone else to melt it down.

      • mr.wiener

        Melting gold is like melting lead I think. Possibly all you would need is a campfire and a metal pot.
        That said it sux that the govt may take this off him. If they do people will definitely know in the future to not declare any gold finds… or ebony etc.

        • Vance

          This policy definitely discourages a search for resources. Why bother if someone else gets the benefits?

  • Vance

    Why are many of the Netizens blaming the lawyer? It seems he is just giving advise on the relevant laws. I like it better here in the US. Generally, if you find something cultural or natural on your property, it is yours to sell, donate, loan or keep as you desire. It is not perfect of course and there are fuzzy areas. I know previous landowners would sell mineral rights that subsequent property owners only find out about later and that can cause problems. But generally, having ownership of the stuff on your property encourages people to go looking for it. For example, the recent drop in gas prices here are credited in part by the oil shale wells that many are having built on their land. This is increasing supply so the prices dropped. Yes the Federal Government, being run currently by people who are against the development of natural resources, blocks drilling on Federal property, but there has been such an increase on private property that we have plenty of oil. The Chinese do not have any incentive to go looking for natural resources. Will that man at least get some kind of “finder’s fee”?

    • Ryo Saeba

      Seriously though, common sense dictates that if you find something valuable and you intend on making money from it, don’t tell ANYONE! Not even your spouse!

      • Free Man

        Especially not your spouse!!!!!

    • Dax

      Chinese can’t own land, only the right to use it.

      • 山炮 ShanPao

        I just saw this after my post. Exactly.

    • 山炮 ShanPao

      Actually, it wasnt found on his land. In China people cannot own land, everything is owned by the state. Property is leasehold or similar. So you’re exactly right, why blame the lawyer when it’s the law which frustrates them.

      However, asking these people to think rationally then don’t hold your breath!

      • Kai


        Oi, guys, the Chinese netizens are blaming the lawyers facetiously. They’re not being serious; they’re more or less joking “you traitor, don’t say that, whose side are you on anyway?!”

        It’s kinda like a friend telling his friend to shutup when the friend says, “well, you were speeding.”

        • David

          that makes more sense. After all it was the lawyer trying to claim the gold for the government, he was simply giving a legal opinion to the reporter.

  • Amused

    “I found a rock yesterday, over 1kg. I’m inquiring, which government department I should give it to?”

    I like him :)

    • David

      I think it should be given to the government through the appropriate window. Preferably with the head of a government bureaucrat on the other side.

  • bossel

    “if the herdsman keeps it, he may be prosecuted for illegal possession/appropriation” So, if he just puts it back where he found it, no problem?

    • David

      LMAO I love this solution. Put it back and don’t tell anybody where.

  • AbC

    This man is nuts for telling EVERYBODY that he has an 8kg gold nugget…
    Seriously, even if the law allows him to keep it, telling the whole country and letting every man and his dog come and view it (taking pictures and uploading it) surely isn’t a good idea.

  • Matt Proctor

    funny how that works. Where is the incentive to be creative? no wonder all china does is copy other cultures greatness

  • John Bobbit

    The Chinese Criminal Party wins again. A member of the CCP, the gift that keeps on giving.

  • TexasRiverBum

    Doesn’t China have a tax system now that they have limited capitalism?

    I vaguely understand (but disagree with) a communist system where (in theory) everything belongs to the people and is administrated by the government. But if a tax system is in place then the gold should be taxed as profit from the herder’s mining operation.

    I dunno, in the US mineral rights can be acquired though land ownership or lease. I guess in China the state own ALL the land so they have mineral rights by default.

    • David

      China definitely has taxes, because I pay them every month. But they have had a tax system as long as they have had civilization. Getting the taxes paid again is usually one of the first things a new government/dynasty/civilization does when they come to power. Consequently burning the tax rolls is usually one of the first things a mobs do just before they DESTROY a government/dynasty/civilization thus making it harder for the next one to collect taxes. When cities/states are conquered, generals usually have a whole special unit that is dedicated to finding, protecting and understanding the tax rolls.

  • Gary

    This is sort of similar to in the UK where if you find a huge hidden cache of Roman gold coins you have to turn them in to the government.

    • mr.wiener

      No sort of compensation?

    • redgirls

      My father is amature historian and I spent most of my childhood bottle collecting, crockery digs, metal detecting ect during the 70s + he had a large collection through the house with notes throughout our home as I was growing up from some of our finds/dig’s. One I remember being on, the find was a 16th century silver bracelet. we had also at various digs found, roman coins,celtic cloak pins etc. Then suddenly the law changed, I can still remember the men from the government confiscating it all. we were allowed to keep some,But most, even to this day we can only visit in museums, sometimes his name gets a mention in the museums but no compensation other than that . I feel sorry for the man who found the gold..

      • sudon’t

        There’s a difference between cultural relics and simple minerals. That said, one should be compensated for their finds. After all, you want to encourage sales to legitimate institutions, like museums, rather than to the black market. One might even be tempted to melt down ancient artifacts. You don’t want to create perverse incentives. Of course, if governments followed that rule, there’d be no black markets. (obligatory LOL)

        • redgirls

          True. My Father gave up after that . Although he is convinced he knows where a stash of spanish gold from the spanish armada is hidden, he even bought a boat and retired by the sea. (lolz)

  • Markus P

    Looks life a KFC fried chicken to me….

    In other news a ‘Night with Japanese AV adult star Julia Kyoka offered as new years bonus prize at tech company’s (Qihoo360) Chinese New Year party’
    Link: http://us.tomonews.net/night-with-japanese-av-star-offered-as-year-end-prize-by-chinese-tech-firm-190305204551680


    • mr.wiener

      If you win, does the govt take her off you?
      Perhaps only if AV stars were considered natural resources :P

      • A Touch of Sin

        They would have to be natural.

    • David

      So a Chinese company is offering a night with a Japanese porn star as a prize? Damn, when I owned my own company all I ever offered were paid trips to the Caribbean and money as incentives.

  • Eric Hill

    In compensation for the find, the glorious Chinese government will dispatch an additional 1,000 state police to guarantee peace in the region for years to come!

  • Poodle Tooth

    If they want to stop generating ill-will with finds like this, they should model their system for cases like this on Britain’s treasure laws, where the finder gets market rates for it, but institutions get first crack. (I realize that’s for man-made objects, but this is a pretty spectacular nugget, it probably has value beyond bullion.) Otherwise, eventually shit like this is just gonna get melted and quietly sold.

  • RealisticRealist

    If it’s real and not a hoax, the herdsman can just tell the government that after hearing of the regulations he put it back where he found it. Actually scratch that, if it’s real it’s worth over US$250,000 the man can move and buy a new identity.

  • FYIADragoon

    Well, if he tries to get compensation from the state, he can take its market value and divide it by 20 for his result.

  • sudon’t

    “…first an expert needs to appraise the piece of gold, and confirm that it is a natural mineral or cultural relic. If it is a natural mineral or cultural relic, then it must be handed over to the government.”

    No, first you hand it over to the government. Then they can appraise it and decide how best to profit.
    Dear Chinese people, I would suggest that if you were to be so lucky as to find something valuable, belonging to no one, keep your mouth shut, lest the government rob you.

  • Xio Gen

    I say he should sell it and then when the chengguan comes to check his water meter he says it was stolen. Then he uses the cash to emigrated to the West and live happily ever after with his family.

  • Krone

    Poor farmer.. Really if he knew better he should have chopped it up into little pieces and sold each seperate.

  • Helmethair

    No wonder no body gives a sh*t about anything in China.

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