Rule to protect all imperial relics
All cultural relics made before 1911 - the last year of the Qing dynasty - will be banned from leaving the country under revised regulations designed to stem the outflow of antiques.
The State Administration of Cultural Heritage said the draft changes were due to be approved soon by the Ministry of Culture, mainland media reported yesterday.
Administration director-general Shan Jixiang said existing regulations only prevented the export of relics dated before 1795, while Zhao Shuzhong , director of the administration's legal department, confirmed the regulation would be authorised and officially announced within two months.
'The number of cultural relics [in the country] has declined rapidly in recent years and this regulation is aimed at curbing the trend and keeping state treasures on the mainland,' Mr Zhao said.
Leading antique expert Xie Chensheng said the existing rules, in effect since the 1960s, had been designed to prevent important relics dating from 1795 to 1911 from being taken out of the country.
'But this piece of regulation has long been neglected, causing an enormous, almost unchecked, outflow of relics,' Mr Xie said.
He said the new regulation would also address artefacts taken to Hong Kong, a popular gateway for overseas dealers over the past few decades.
'The truth is, there are almost no relics from the [1795-1911] period on the mainland. This is a very bad phenomenon worth attention,' he said.