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Improved law urged on cultural relics protection


17:34, November 19, 2012

BEIJING - Experts have called for timely moves to further improve the law on cultural relics protection at the time when the country marks the 30th anniversary of its legislation on protecting cultural heritage.

On November 19, 1982, China's top legislators approved the country's law on cultural relics protection. During the past 30 years, the country has made great achievements in the cause of preserving cultural relics.

However, many cultural relics are still not being protected in a timely and effective manner, as some relics are destroyed in the process of urban construction, ancient tombs are robbed, collected historic relics get stolen and relics are smuggled.

According to statistics from the latest national archaeological survey conducted from 2007 to 2011, China has more than 760,000 pieces of registered unmovable cultural relics and 2,384 state-owned museums with 28.6 million pieces of collected relics.

The survey also revealed that in the past 30 years, more than 40,000 unmovable relics have vanished, with half of them destroyed by construction work.

Thirty-one Han Tombs in North China's Hebei province that were listed on the provincial-level preservation list in 1982 have suffered fierce robberies. Irregular bottomless caves can be found at each tomb, and some thieves have even robbed the tombs in broad daylight, according to local villagers.

In November, local police in Central China's Hubei province said that a case involving stealing and reselling tomb relics was uncovered and a total of 198 pieces of cultural relics were seized.

Li Enjia, vice director of the Hebei Provincial Administration of Cultural Heritage, said that illegal black market deals and high interest drive people to seek illegitimate profits and commit crimes in the cultural relics trade.

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