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Enforcing International Cultural Heritage Law$
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Francesco Francioni and James Gordley

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199680245

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199680245.001.0001

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Enforcing Import Restrictions of China’s Cultural Objects

Enforcing Import Restrictions of China’s Cultural Objects

The Sino–US Memorandum of Understanding

(p.240) 12 Enforcing Import Restrictions of China’s Cultural Objects
Enforcing International Cultural Heritage Law

Wang Yunxia

Oxford University Press

On 14 January 2009, China and the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on import restrictions for cultural objects. This chapter assesses the legal basis, main contents, and the impact of the MoU on the protection of Chinese cultural heritage. It argues that despite the MoU's positive impact on protecting China's cultural heritage, some Chinese experts deem it far from satisfactory. They question provisions such as import restrictions for Chinese cultural objects that fall within the scope of the ‘designated list’ of the American government and with a history of over 250 years as a prerequisite; the fact that the MoU remains effective every five years, which can undermine long-term implementation; and the absence of retroactive force, which is detrimental to the return of Chinese cultural objects.

Keywords:   China, United States, Memorandum of Understanding, import restrictions, cultural objects, illegal trafficking, Chinese cultural heritage

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