The U.S. Government Returns Ancient Cultural Artifacts and Fossil to China



The the Chinese Artifacts repatriation ceremony was held at the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C.on December 10. Ambasadaor Cui Tiankai attended and addressed the ceremony. Mr.Gu Yucai, China's Deputy Director General of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage(SACH) and Mr. Daniel Ragsdale, Deputy Director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) signed the Certificate of Trasfer. Representing the Chinese Governement , Mr. Gu received 22 Chinese artifacts, including 17 jade disks and ornaments, 4 pieces of bronze ware, and a pottery figure and a dinosaur fossil. US Assistant Secretary Evan Ryan and more than 100 government officials and representives from various sectors attented the event.

The artifacts and fossil were recovered by ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) offices in New York, Cleveland and Miami. The 22 artifacts have been identified as artifacts dating back to periods prior to the Tang Dynasty and bearing great historical and artistic value.And the fossil has been authenticated as the Anchiornis huxleyi which is originated from Liaoning Province of China. Starting from September 2014, SACH has been working closely with US Department of Justice, ICE to repatriate Chinese artifacts with the assistance of the Chinese Embassy and the Ministry of Jusice. In September of 2015, during the President's state visit to the US, both governments announced that the US would return the lost artifacts to China in accordance with a MOU between the two governments on this matter.


In his remarks, Ambassador Cui expressed his appreciation and gratitude to relevant US agencies for the strict law enforcement efforts and cooperations with the Chinese side. "Their recovery is the result of seamless coordination among so many people from various agencies of China and the United States," said the Ambassadorb, "These treasures are symbols of the ancient Chinese civilization and our Mother Nature. They are also the common heritage of mankind. Their return to China will facilitate our fight against illicit trade in archeological objects, and help us better preserve cultural heritage for our future generations."

"When the 22 artifacts arrive in China, they will bring home with them the friendship and goodwill of the American people. The fossil, to be loaned to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History for exhibition, will tell in silence another story of China-U.S. cooperation. In a word, they will become another bridge of communications between our two great nations." The Ambassasor expressed his confidence, that with the joint efforts of the two sides, China-U.S. cultural exchange will make new headway and contribute to the growth of China-U.S. relations in the years to come.


"The return of these treasured artifacts is part of a major outcome of President Xi Jinping's state visit to the US last September and a milestone for China-US cooperation in cultural heritage," said Mr. Gu. He also stressed that while fighting hard against smuggling of cultural property and cutting off channels of illicit trafficking, China and the US have worked together to co-host high-quality exhibitions and conduct joint archaeological excavations so that people in the U.S. will have better understanding of Chinese culture and relevant institutions in the U.S. can have better exchanges and cooperation with their Chinese counterparts.

"The repatriation of these items is a great success for the United States and for the Chinese and its people," said Secretary Evan Ryan. "Cultural heritage endures as a reminder of the contributions and historical experiences of humanity, and we must continue to work together on fronts to safeguard it."

"In returning these items today, ICE rights a great wrong for the people of China ."said ICE's Deputy Director, Daniel Ragsdaleb, "Fossils and treasures like these will always be targeted by bad actors, but we continue to investigate these crimes and repatriate them to their rightful owners".


In 2011, the U.S. government once returned 14 items of artifacts to the Chinese government. It is the second time that the two governments conducted such repatriation. As scheduled, these 22 artifacts plans to arrive in Beijingon Dec. 12 and they will be shown to the public in Chinese museums. The  fossil will be exhibited in Carnegie Museum of Natural History soon and will be returned to China after that.

Suggest to a Friend: