China vows to regulate forgery-filled relics market
Updated: 2012-03-29 10:35
BEIJING -- State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) is highly concerned with chaotic cultural relics market in China, an SACH official said Wednesday, vowing to intensify supervision and management.
Li Yaoshen, head of the policy and regulation bureau under the administration, noted that some auction groups, although knowing certain auction items are fake, took the advantage of laws and regulations in order to lure buyers to drive up the prices.
The country's current Auction Law stipulates that auction groups and clients cannot be held responsible for failed quality guarantee if they claim beforehand that the quality and authenticity of certain auction items cannot be ensured.
Meanwhile, Li noted that some relics sellers do not have business certificates and various cheating methods can be employed in market trading.
A recent case involved a jade furniture set -- a dresser and a stool -- claimed to date back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD).
After being sold at auction for 220 million yuan ($34.87 million) last year, an Internet user wrote a post alleging the jade wares were counterfeit and made by a craftsman surnamed Zhao in Jiangsu province, and said the true value was about 500,000 yuan.
Although Zhao admitted that he was the maker of the jade furniture later in an interview with Xinhua, the expert who authenticated the object denied that the antique was fake.
According to Li, the administration will set up a system to manage and regulate authentication certificates of cultural relics and adopt stricter approval procedures for relics auctions by spelling out more concrete and specific requirements on the introduction of auction items and the responsibilities of auction professionals.
He also vowed to set up a work mechanism that will coordinate the joint efforts of cultural relics, commerce, public security and tax departments in investigating alleged illegal activities in the relics auction market and imposing harsh punishment on violators.
China overtook the United States as the world's biggest market for art and antiques last year, according to the 2011 art market report published earlier this month by the European Fine Art Foundation.
China's share of the global art market rose from 23 percent in 2010 to 30 percent last year, pushing the United States to second place with a share of 29 percent, the report said.