China and the CPIA

Kevin Bogardus has an interesting article in The Hill on the State Department and its Cultural Property Advisory Committee taking its sweet time in deciding on whether to impose import restrictions on Chinese antiquities.

China made the request in 2004, and both proponents and critics of the restrictions are eager for a decision. Members of the Ancient Coin Collector’s Guild and others have even brought suit to elicit more information from the State Department about the deliberations with respect to the requests of China and Cyprus. It seems they have started to receive “heavily redacted” documents. Given the administration’s adamant refusal to disclose what it deems privileged information, even on the most mundane matters, it should be a long and difficult task. This is regrettable. Though I don’t share their criticism of the restriction, I do think we would all be better served in knowing how these decisions are made.

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One thought on “China and the CPIA”

  1. Derek- A few points. First, I’m not sure dealers and collectors are ‘anxious” for a decision in the sense they want one to come down soon. Given the propensity for the State Department to impose the broadest restrictions imaginable (whether or not they fit the criteria of the CPIA)they are concerned that the State Department will use the Olympics as a backdrop to announce restrictions, that would better be forgotten, at least until the scope of the Chinese request is scaled back dramatically and China uses self-help measures to get looting under control.

    Second, State Department transparency has been a concern well before the Bush administration. Similar concerns about transparency of process have been around at least since the Clinton administration, if not before.

    Finally, congratulations on your Ph. D, and much success in the future.


    Peter Tompa

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