Peter, the questions go deeper, given the fact that the PRC has asked the US to renew the current Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries.
The PRC is required to give the US a full report on its compliance with the MOU. Has it done so? If not, why not? If it has, the State Department is required to provide the US public with the PRC's report. Has it done so? If not why not? Is there a cover up here -- by the PRC or, worse (much worse!) by the Administration?
Could someone comment on this?
By way of background, here is what was promised in Article II of the Current MOU:
1. Representatives of the Government of the United States of America and representatives of the Government of the People’s Republic of China shall regularly publicize this Memorandum of Understanding and the reasons for it through available outlets of communication.
2. The Government of the People’s Republic of China shall expand efforts to educate its citizens about the long term importance of safeguarding its rich cultural heritage and that of other countries, a principle embodied in the 1970 UNESCO Convention.
3. The Government of the People’s Republic of China shall use its best efforts to make use of surface surveys in order to inventory sites, and to broaden archaeological research and enhance public awareness of its importance. 4. The Government of the People’s Republic of China shall use its best efforts to increase
funding and professional resources for the protection of cultural heritage throughout the country.
5. The Government of the People’s Republic of China shall take measures to improve the effectiveness of its customs officers, in order to: (1) stop the illicit exportation of cultural property at borders and ports; and (2) recognize Chinese archaeological material and its value to the heritage. The Government of the United States of America shall use its best efforts to improve the ability of its customs officers to recognize Chinese archaeological material and, as appropriate, facilitate assistance to China for the training of its customs
6. The Government of the People’s Republic of China shall make every effort to stop archaeological material looted or stolen from the Mainland from entering the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macao Special Administrative Region with the goal of eliminating the illicit trade in these regions.
7. The Government of the United States of America recognizes that the Government of the People’s Republic of China permits the international interchange of archaeological materials for cultural, educational and scientific purposes to enable widespread public appreciation of and legal access to China’s rich cultural heritage.
The Government of the People’s Republic of China agrees to use its best efforts to further such interchange in the following ways:
(1) promote long-term loans of archaeological objects of significant interest to a broad cross-section of American museums for public exhibition, education, and research purposes;
(2) promote increased institution-to-institution collaboration in the field of art history and in other humanistic and academic disciplines relating to the archaeological heritage of China;
(3) promote the exchange of students and professionals in such fields as archaeology, art history, conservation, museum curatorial practices, and cultural heritage management between appropriate Chinese and U.S. institutions; and
4) facilitate the granting of permits to conduct archaeological research in China.
8. The Government of the United States of America shall use its best efforts to facilitate technical assistance to the Government of the People’s Republic of China in pursuit of preserving its cultural heritage by such means as creating a national preservation strategy, improving rescue archaeology, stabilizing and restoring sites/buildings, enhancing the capacity of museums to preserve and exhibit collections, and strengthening regulation of the “cultural relics” market.
9. The Government of the People’s Republic of China shall continue to license the sale and export of certain antiquities as provided by law and will explore ways to make more of these objects available licitly.
10. Recognizing that, pursuant to this Memorandum of Understanding, museums in the United States will be restricted from acquiring certain archaeological objects, the Government of the People’s Republic of China agrees that its museums will similarly refrain from acquiring such restricted archaeological objects that are looted and illegally exported from Mainland China to destinations abroad, unless the seller or donor
provides evidence of legal export from Mainland China or verifiable documentation that the item left Mainland China prior to the imposition of U.S. import restrictions. This will apply to purchases made outside Mainland China by any museum in Mainland China and only to the categories of objects representing China’s cultural heritage from the Paleolithic Period through the end of the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 907), and monumental sculpture and wall art at least 250 years old, as covered by this Memorandum of
11. The Government of the People’s Republic of China shall seek to improve regulation of its internal market for antiquities.
12. Both Governments agree that, in order for United States import restrictions to be most successful in thwarting pillage, the Government of the People’s Republic of China shall endeavor to strengthen regional cooperation within Asia for the protection of cultural patrimony; and, in the effort to deter further pillage in China, shall seek increased cooperation from other importing nations to restrict the import of looted archaeological material originating in China.
13. To strengthen the cooperation between the two countries, the Government of the People’s Republic of China shall regularly provide the Government of the United States with information concerning the implementation of this Memorandum of Understanding; and, as appropriate, the Government of the United States shall provide information to the Government of the People’s Republic of China that strengthens the ability of both countries to enforce applicable laws and regulations to reduce illicit trafficking in cultural property.