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China to tighten supervision of relic market

By Liu Xiangrui  (

08:14, July 13, 2012

The State Administration of Cultural Heritage plans to tighten its supervision over auctions of cultural relics, with the examination of auction items to be specially addressed, the administration said.

Eight categories of relics, including those from stealing, tomb-raiding, and smuggling, and pieces looted out of China illegally in the past, will be banned from auction, the notice said.

In addition, auction items' designated names won't be permitted to be changed without authorization, and key words like "rare", "only" and "national treasure" will be banned in their introductions.

Song Xinchao, deputy head of the administration, told a news conference on Thursday that the move is a response to problems in the relic auction market in recent years.

"Relic collection is getting popular in recent years. More and more people, as well as a large amount of money, are involved. However, some serious problems have also shown up, which will affect the long-term development of the market," Song said.

The administration also clarified the responsibilities and possible punishment of auction professionals who make false verifications.

The practice of auctioning fake items while knowing they are fake is common with some companies, Song said.

"In the past, no laws and examination procedures gave specific requirement for the auction items, which had caused some companies to auction fake items purposefully. Meanwhile, heritage regulators didn't regard regulating fake items a part of their responsibility," Song said.

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