China has an incredible wealth of cultural heritage in all forms. China’s archaeological record in the form of built cultural heritage and portable cultural heritage has long been admired in China and around the world. Unfortunately, this admiration has led to the desire to acquire for public and private collections. The past exploitation of China’s cultural heritage is a matter of contentious debate in the world today. To protect its remaining cultural heritage in the form of antiquities and artworks, China has developed stringent regulations on the export of cultural relics. Unfortunately, the illicit excavation and export of cultural relics from China remains a major problem. This problem has been exacerbated because China’s two Special Administrative Regions (SARs) – Hong Kong and Macau – are not subject to these stringent regulations. Hong Kong and Macau have their own laws and regulations concerning cultural relics, which are aimed at protection of the relics in these regions and were never intended to deal with the protection of China’s heritage as a whole. In fact, Hong Kong and Macau have long been identified as the major illicit export routes for China’s cultural relics. This seminar will consider the issues with the legal and regulatory frameworks of Hong Kong and Macau which not only permit continued trafficking in China’s cultural heritage through them, but may even encourage traffickers to choose these routes. The seminar will consider how the Greater Bay Area initiative may provide the ideal impetus to harmonize the policies of the Mainland, Hong Kong and Macau to combat the illicit trade in China’s cultural heritage. Such a harmonized Greater Bay Area cultural heritage policy could create a synchronized and coherent legal and regulatory framework in the three legal jurisdictions to combat trafficking in China’s culture relics. The seminar will also consider whether this is not just an opportunity for China, Hong Kong and Macau to harmonize their policy, regulation and law, but whether such harmonization may be an obligation on China under international law.
About the Speaker:
Prof. Steven Gallagher, Professional Consultant, Professor of Practice in Law, CUHK LAW
The Law Society of Hong Kong has awarded this seminar 1 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) point.