Saturday, May 11, 2013

Shame on China III: The PRC's Cronyism and Mercantilist-like Approach to Collecting

I’m actually happy China allows and even encourages collectors to preserve, study and display artifacts from China’s glorious past. But China should be criticized for giving connected insiders like Poly Group, a Chinese auction house connected with the People’s Liberation Army, a leg up on the competition, both foreign and domestic.

China should also be taken to task for taking on a mercantilist-like approach to collecting; Chinese citizens can import whatever they want, but no exports of artifacts predating 1911 are allowed, officially at least. Of course, anything and everything still exits the free ports of Hong Kong and Macao. That allows recently looted artifacts to be re-imported into China no questions asked for rich Chinese collectors.

Why should the US State Department and US Customs preclude Americans from importing Chinese artifacts when China encourages its own citizens to collect the same artifacts, and indeed, the size of the internal Chinese market is many, many times the size of the US market in such materials?

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