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AC Chairman and Founder Details How China Combats Cultural Racketeering for China Pictorial

July 11, 2022

In 2021, the Chinese art market was valued at $13.4 billion, making it 20 percent of the global total, second only to the United States. But as interest in Chinese cultural heritage continues to grow, so does the risk that bad actors will attempt to exploit it.

In a recent article for China Pictorial, Deborah Lehr, Chairman and Founder of the Antiquities Coalition, details how the Chinese government is taking serious measures to crack down on the illegal trade of art and antiquities:

“For one, China has strengthened its laws, both nationally and locally. By the end of 2016, there were 154 local laws, 138 local government statutes, and more than 13,000 local regulatory documents related to cultural work across the country,” Lehr says. 

Lehr also outlines China’s strict approach to enforcement, highlighting the country’s 2021 crackdown that caught 650 gangs and resulted in the arrests of 61 most-wanted suspects of cultural relic theft.

Countries must work internationally and coordinate efforts with other governments to fight against antiquities trafficking. China is an example of how countries can develop laws, implement cultural heritage protection into urbanization planning, and engage internationally to ensure we can celebrate our shared history and preserve it for future generations.

Read the full article here.