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2011 Culture News and Events

The United States Returns Artifacts to the People's Republic of China

Chief of Mission and Minister Deng Hongbo, Embassy of the People's Republic of China, U.S. CBP Deputy Commissioner David V. Aguilar and U.S. ICE Deputy Director Kumar Kibble sign the ceremonial transfer documents during the repatriation ceremony. (ICE)

Chief of Mission and Minister Deng Hongbo, Embassy of the People's Republic of China, U.S. CBP Deputy Commissioner David V. Aguilar and U.S. ICE Deputy Director Kumar Kibble sign the ceremonial transfer documents during the repatriation ceremony. (ICE)

Sui Dynasty Pottery Horses with Riders, A.D. 581-618, Among Artifacts Returned to China by ICE and CBP (ICE)

Sui Dynasty Pottery Horses with Riders, A.D. 581-618, Among Artifacts Returned to China by ICE and CBP (ICE)

On March 11, 2011, for the first time, the Government of the United States repatriated to the Government of the People’s Republic of China archaeological material that had been seized and forfeited pursuant to an import restriction agreement concluded between the U.S. and China in 2009.

The U.S. has been a party since 1983 to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. In 2009, the U.S. Department of State and the People’s Republic of China State Administration of Cultural Heritage concluded a bilateral agreement, or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), within the framework of the Convention, specifically, Article 9.

In the MOU, the Government of the United States in accordance with its legislation entitled the “Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act,” restricts the importation into the United States of archaeological material originating in China and representing China’s cultural heritage.

The United States works closely with other UNESCO member states to prevent illicit trafficking of cultural property.

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