Antiques should return to where they belong

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, May 12, 2023
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The return of two cultural relics from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office to China's Consulate General in New York sets a good precedent for other Western nations to follow.

In April, some Manhattan procurators found the two cultural relics of great historical and artistic value during a criminal probe. Agencies in both countries cooperated to make the return possible. Since 2015, the US has returned 404 cultural relics plus an ancient archaeological fossil to China, and this is the sixth time it has done so.

The cultural relics belong to China and it is good news they are now returning home. By helping the lost cultural relics to return home, the US side not only shows its goodwill toward China, but also restates a basic principle of international relations, namely that cultural relics belong to their country of origin and should go home one day.

In a statement, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said: "It is a shame that these two incredible antiquities were stolen and at least one remained largely hidden from public view for nearly three decades." It's a shame for those who stole and moved the antiques out of their country of origin.

Fortunately, the mistake has been corrected, reinforcing the international consensus that antiques should remain in their country of origin or be returned if they were stolen or robbed.

The US is not the only or the biggest repository of Chinese cultural relics. According to official data, some 17 million Chinese antiques are lost overseas, scattered across Western countries. A day will come when they will all return home.

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