Toughts, news and small talk mainly concerning China from a berlin perspective

4/14/2005

NGO fights for Chinas cultural heritage. Art buisness and politics


Hard times to come for museums worldwide as a Chinese NGO, the China Cultural Relics Recovery Program, funded by the China Foundation for the Development of Folklore Culture (wonder how non-governmental it actually is) is on its way to reclaim Chinese cultural relics, Xinhua reports:

... "The group said it would mainly look for stolen, excavated or looted items between 1840 and 1949. ...
... "The spiritual wealth can be shared (by the whole world), but not the ownership, just like the property rights on software," said Xie Chensheng, a senior cultural heritage preservation expert.
"Ownership of the scattered cultural treasures should belong to Chinese people," he said.
Director general of the program Wang Weiming said the program was a civil movement sponsored by Chinese NGOs and backed by public opinion, historical realities and an international convention to protect cultural relics at their original sites." ...

Wow, lot of homework to do for these guys, as it is estimated, that about a million Chinese treasures are kept in more than 200 museums in 47 countries.

Another recent article (last but one article on the page) concerning Chinese fine arts is about the public hearing of the US Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC) on the request of the People's Republic of China for US Customs restrictions against the import of all Chinese cultural property over 95 years old. That in fact would be an Art-Embargo and is a nightmare scenario for the whole US Asian-art-business. Some doubt that the whole thing is about protecting the cultural heritage of china and bring up more political motives:


"Marc Wilson was the only presenter willing to bring up the unspoken politics many suspect is behind all this: the growing conflict between national and provincial/local officials in China. A New York-based Chinese collector agreed with this position, reporting that the new head of the Cultural Relics Bureau is `trying to make his mark' and `deflect criticism from internal piracy'. `The fact is, construction and development are more destructive than looters,' said Wilson. And `government engagement in art trade' is `ambiguous' at best."

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