Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

Prof. ST Hsieh

Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum


[email protected]

May 10, 2023

It is encouraging to learn the US and China has been collaborating in recovering lost Chinese cultural relics. This news was broadly covered in China and around the world. Of course, it will “bring positive energy into China-US relations.” 

The amount “three million US dollars” is significant but it dwarfs in the face of US-China trade volumes. “One thousand-year” is a fairly long time but China’s history dates back to more than four thousand years. However, money and time are not a good measure of the relationship between nations. The appreciation of each other’s heritage and history will be ingrained in people’s hearts forever.

We sincerely hope thatThe two countries will not only continue to proactively cooperate in the tracing, recovery and return of stolen cultural relics,” but also proactively cooperate in promoting global peace and prosperity.

  • Since 2015, the US has returned 404 lost Chinese cultural relics and a fossil to the National Cultural Heritage Administration. In 2009, China and the US signed a memorandum of understanding on restricting US imports of Chinese cultural relics, offering a basis for the repatriations. The memorandum was renewed in 2014 and 2019.

Global Times: US returns over 1,000-year-old stone carvings

Smuggled treasures recovered through joint efforts

By Chen Xi and Li Yuche Published: May 10, 2023 07:56 PM

Two more than 1,000-year-old cultural relics were returned to China after a ceremony at the Manhattan District ­Attorney’s Office in New York on Tuesday. 

Chinese Consul General in New York Huang Ping attended the ceremony, where officials from both sides agreed that the return will “bring positive energy into China-US relations.” 

The two countries will continue to proactively cooperate in the tracing, recovery and return of stolen cultural relics, according to a statement from China’s Consulate General in New York on Wednesday.

The two stone carvings were once part of stone funerary platforms that supported a coffin in a tomb. They date back to the Northern Dynasties (386-581) to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and are collectively valued at nearly $3.5 million, owing to their high historical, scientific and artistic value. 

According to the official website of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, in the early 1990s thieves used saws to cut the two antiques from a tomb in China and smuggled the pieces out of the country. 

From 1998 until the office’s seizure in 2023, the antiquities were on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art from a private collector based in Manhattan. In early 2023, the office concluded a criminal investigation into relics purchased by the collector, resulting in the seizure of 89 antiquities from 10 different countries. The seized items were collectively valued at nearly $69 million.

“It is a shame that these two incredible antiquities were stolen and at least one remained largely hidden from the public view for nearly three decades. While their total value is more than $3 million, the incredible detail and beauty of these pieces can never be truly captured by a price tag,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. 

An official from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said at the ceremony that this is the second time that the office has cooperated with China to return cultural relics, and the two countries will continue to cooperate in this area in the future.

Yu Jinlong, a Beijing-based cultural critic, told the Global Times that though China-US relations are experiencing some tension, cultural relics are the heritage of all humanity and the repatriation of cultural relics has greatly promoted cultural exchanges between the two countries.

“Cultural exchanges between China and US should conform to the needs of the era’s development. We should adhere to the spirit of mutual respect and mutual appreciation between different cultures, providing great value for the construction of a global community with shared future,” he said.

China’s National Cultural Heritage Administration (NCHA) has currently arranged for the return of the cultural relics handed over at the ceremony in New York. Since 2015, the US has returned a total of 404 cultural relics and artworks and one paleontological fossil to China over the course of five batches. The latest return is another successful example of the cooperation between China and the US in retrieving and returning cultural relics, the NCHA said in a statement on Wednesday.

VOA: US Returns Two Stolen 7th-Century Antiquities to China

May 10, 2023 7:01 AM

An image of one of the looted antiquities, Zoroastrian Funerary Platform, is seen in this image released by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.

An image of one of the looted antiquities, Zoroastrian Funerary Platform, is seen in this image released by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

The carvings were handed over during a repatriation ceremony at the Chinese consulate in New York.

U.S. returns 2 illegally transported cultural relics to China

10th May 2023, 19:49 GMT+10

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