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Thread: China relics buyer refuses to pay

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    Re: China relics buyer refuses to pay

    Quote Originally Posted by Hatuey View Post
    Stealing, looting, plundering whatever you want to call it has NEVER been legal. Try. Again.
    Sure it has been. It is part of customary state practice and such looting was commonplace during warfare in the 19th century and earlier.

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    The British Museum's legal standing may be solid. International law hasn't kept pace with shifting global views over whether antiquities should be returned to their places of origin - often less-developed countries - or kept in big museums with resources for care and display.
    Lucille A. Roussin, who has a doctorate in art history and archaeology as well as a law degree and teaches at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York, said there's no dispute when Chinese officials say the bronze rat and rabbit heads that were auctioned by Christie's last week in Paris disappeared in the ransacking of the emperor's Garden of Perfect Brightness during the Second Opium War.

    "Did they have a legal claim? No. Did they have a moral claim? Yes," Roussin said. The items in question "were certainly looted. But they were looted at a time when there was no international law on this kind of looted object."
    Last edited by ludahai; 03-07-09 at 01:57 AM.
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    Re: China relics buyer refuses to pay

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    Well, if China were stronger, it could have prevented it. Funny how just a few decades earlier, the Chinese were calling the Europeans barbarians, and then they were getting their butts kicked. They should have abided by previous agreements and not executed a French missionary.
    Can your anti-Chinese crap Ludahai, your argument is full of holes and full of vitriol.

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    As for the taking of cultural treasures, back in the 19th century, that was a consequence of losing a war. Again, as I said before, it is a GOOD thing they were taken. They would have been destroyed in the 1960s had they NOT been. If CHina wants them back, they will have to negotiate for them. The behavior of this bogus bidder to disrupt the auction was illegal and unethical.
    Prove the bolded assertion with evidence. Oh that's right, you can't. You can't justify theft with a "maybe". Even though a lot of China's relics were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, there were still a lot that did survive and are on display to this day. You need to brush up on your modern history a little bit before you cast accusations and irrational probabilities.

  3. #33
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    Re: China relics buyer refuses to pay

    Quote Originally Posted by Orius View Post
    Can your anti-Chinese crap Ludahai, your argument is full of holes and full of vitriol.
    There was nothing false in the statement this is in response to.

    1. A French missionary was executed. Fact.
    2. China was in violation of earlier agreements with Britain regarding treatment of British-flagged vessels. Probably fact -though one that is disputed.
    3. China referred to the British and other Westerners as "Barbarians" just a few decades earlier. Fact.
    4. Were China stronger, they could have resisted the West. Fact.

    Prove the bolded assertion with evidence. Oh that's right, you can't. You can't justify theft with a "maybe". Even though a lot of China's relics were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, there were still a lot that did survive and are on display to this day. You need to brush up on your modern history a little bit before you cast accusations and irrational probabilities.
    Ever heard of the Cultural Revolution?
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    Re: China relics buyer refuses to pay

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    Sure it has been. It is part of customary state practice and such looting was commonplace during warfare in the 19th century and earlier.
    So let's forget the modern relationship that has since formed between these nations on good faith, and simply defer back to 1890's policy so we can keep whatever treasures we have stolen. What a ridiculous argument. Britain and France were only in China to force the Chinese to buy their opium, and now they have the audacity to claim that they had the right to steal from China? They invaded China, China didn't let them in.

    Then again, if the Europeans had any morals at all they wouldn't have done the countless crimes against humanity they had in the past 200 years. Just because they spend a lot of PR effort into portraying themselves as saints for humanity, its going to be a bit hard to convince the other 80% of humanity who does not belong to Europe and North America.

    France is already paying the price for it anyway, as China's trade mission to Europe skipped France all together while inking 10 billion euros of purchases in Germany alone. If France is willing to pay billions dollars a year for those bronze heads, then fools and their money will soon be parted.

    The former imperialist powers are a bunch of thieves, and what's worse is that they are trying to justify their theft under the claim that they are protecting cultural treasures and preserving them. The same disputes are going on with Cambodia, Italy and Egypt right now.

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    Re: China relics buyer refuses to pay

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    There was nothing false in the statement this is in response to.

    1. A French missionary was executed. Fact.
    2. China was in violation of earlier agreements with Britain regarding treatment of British-flagged vessels. Probably fact -though one that is disputed.
    3. China referred to the British and other Westerners as "Barbarians" just a few decades earlier. Fact.
    4. Were China stronger, they could have resisted the West. Fact.
    Please cite evidence from any treaty between the imperial powers and China which gave them universal rights to loot and remove cultural property from its lands. I'll save you the time, no such stipulation exists. Nothing you say can justify why, in modern times, China's stolen cultural heritage should not be returned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ludahai
    Ever heard of the Cultural Revolution?
    Quote Originally Posted by Orius
    Prove the bolded assertion with evidence. Oh that's right, you can't. You can't justify theft with a "maybe". Even though a lot of China's relics were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, there were still a lot that did survive and are on display to this day. You need to brush up on your modern history a little bit before you cast accusations and irrational probabilities.
    Ever heard of reading? I am still waiting for you to provide evidence that these relics would have definitely been destroyed, given that there are still relics in China today that survived. The Cultural Revolution did not destroy 100% of China's heritage. Your assertion is false.

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    Re: China relics buyer refuses to pay

    Quote Originally Posted by Orius View Post
    So let's forget the modern relationship that has since formed between these nations on good faith, and simply defer back to 1890's policy so we can keep whatever treasures we have stolen. What a ridiculous argument. Britain and France were only in China to force the Chinese to buy their opium, and now they have the audacity to claim that they had the right to steal from China? They invaded China, China didn't let them in.
    In the late 1850s, the Chinese were violating agreements it had inked, signed and exchanged instruments of ratification. I don't think the French missionary who was executed in Guangxi was invading China.

    Then again, if the Europeans had any morals at all they wouldn't have done the countless crimes against humanity they had in the past 200 years. Just because they spend a lot of PR effort into portraying themselves as saints for humanity, its going to be a bit hard to convince the other 80% of humanity who does not belong to Europe and North America.
    Did I say they were saints? No. Then again, you are supporting a country that has a lot of blood and crimes on its hands - arguably far worse than anything the British or French did.

    France is already paying the price for it anyway, as China's trade mission to Europe skipped France all together while inking 10 billion euros of purchases in Germany alone. If France is willing to pay billions dollars a year for those bronze heads, then fools and their money will soon be parted.
    Those bronze heads to NOT belong to the French government. The government of France has NO legal basis to loot from a private collection that has been paid for.

    The former imperialist powers are a bunch of thieves, and what's worse is that they are trying to justify their theft under the claim that they are protecting cultural treasures and preserving them. The same disputes are going on with Cambodia, Italy and Egypt right now.
    THey are ongoing. It is TRUE that they are protecting the treasures - far more so then they would have had they remained in China. However, there is nothing illegal about what has happened. If you look at my first post in this thread - I state that these countries may have a MORAL claim to make here. Of course, you missed that, didn't you?
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    Re: China relics buyer refuses to pay

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    In the late 1850s, the Chinese were violating agreements it had inked, signed and exchanged instruments of ratification. I don't think the French missionary who was executed in Guangxi was invading China.
    Agreements that it was forced to ink or face oblivion. Do you think China really wanted to be forced to accept foreign missionaries into its interior? Do you think it really wanted to open up 5 of its port cities when beforehand it wanted zero economic relations with the West? It did so for survival.

    The Imperialists killed way more Chinese in their invasions and subsequent rule than the Chinese ever killed in defending their nation. Your argument is bunk for the simple fact that none of this even relates to or justifies looting. Even if you defer to the argument on imperialist tactics of the day, that does not account for those countries keeping the relics now.

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    Did I say they were saints? No. Then again, you are supporting a country that has a lot of blood and crimes on its hands - arguably far worse than anything the British or French did.
    Let's see... Britain invaded how many countries before it became the world's largest empire, forcing nations to accept their wholy unequal treaties and social stratifications? You are comparing British atrocities to China's internal domestic problems? There is no comparison.

    I will admit though that all have been bloody monsters at one time or another.

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    Those bronze heads to NOT belong to the French government. The government of France has NO legal basis to loot from a private collection that has been paid for.
    Which relates directly to the argument that I made earlier. The former imperial powers pick and choose which relics will be confiscated and returned. Blackmarket relics are confiscated all the time, especially Egyptian ones... yet who decides which are returned and which aren't? It's completely arbitrary. You claim that priviate property cannot be invaded by government, but this is false given relics that are confiscated by the cultural authorities of the imperial powers.

    There needs to be a standardization process of what gets returned. If a foreign government makes a claim about relics that are theirs

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    THey are ongoing. It is TRUE that they are protecting the treasures - far more so then they would have had they remained in China.
    I asked you to prove evidence to back up this point. Prove that these treasures would have been destroyed had they remained in China, and also account for why there are so much preserved treasures in China today that did survive the 100 years of insanity? Your 'what ifs' are bogus and easy to debunk.

    Even if this were true, they would be Chinese relics destroyed by Chinese hands. It's their own property to do with as they see fit. What gives you or any country the right to tell them what property of theirs they should and shouldn't have access to?

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    However, there is nothing illegal about what has happened. If you look at my first post in this thread - I state that these countries may have a MORAL claim to make here. Of course, you missed that, didn't you?
    I already acknowledged that there is no international law (yet) to protect cultural relics from being robbed, but the UN is working on one right now and once it is passed those claims will be realized. Of course, the imperial powers are going to fight the legislation tooth and nail because they believe their thefts are legitimate.

    I don't trust your arguments Ludahai because you are so vehemently anti-PRC. I would make this identical argument for countries like Egypt, Cambodia, and Italy, all who have had their cultural and historical heritage robbed by the greed of former monarchies. Part of the Parthenon is in London right now and Italy wants it back... I believe their claim is legitimate as well.

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    Re: China relics buyer refuses to pay

    Quote Originally Posted by Orius View Post
    Agreements that it was forced to ink or face oblivion. Do you think China really wanted to be forced to accept foreign missionaries into its interior? Do you think it really wanted to open up 5 of its port cities when beforehand it wanted zero economic relations with the West? It did so for survival.
    It wanted economic relations with the West. It wanted to sell tea, but didn't want to buy anything in return.

    As for signing the agreements. Are you saying it is ok for China to sign agreements and then not follow them? Sorry, but international law does not allow for that.

    The Imperialists killed way more Chinese in their invasions and subsequent rule than the Chinese ever killed in defending their nation. Your argument is bunk for the simple fact that none of this even relates to or justifies looting. Even if you defer to the argument on imperialist tactics of the day, that does not account for those countries keeping the relics now.
    And of course, the Chinese never invaded anyone, did they?

    Let's see... Britain invaded how many countries before it became the world's largest empire, forcing nations to accept their wholy unequal treaties and social stratifications? You are comparing British atrocities to China's internal domestic problems? There is no comparison.
    I didn't compare them. I merely said that none of them were saints.

    I will admit though that all have been bloody monsters at one time or another.
    The first sound statement you have made in this thread.

    Which relates directly to the argument that I made earlier. The former imperial powers pick and choose which relics will be confiscated and returned. Blackmarket relics are confiscated all the time, especially Egyptian ones... yet who decides which are returned and which aren't? It's completely arbitrary. You claim that priviate property cannot be invaded by government, but this is false given relics that are confiscated by the cultural authorities of the imperial powers.
    Can you cite any instances where the French government confiscated treasures that were in private hands and returned to the countries from which they originated?

    There needs to be a standardization process of what gets returned. If a foreign government makes a claim about relics that are theirs
    There is a legal process. China should try and use it.

    I asked you to prove evidence to back up this point. Prove that these treasures would have been destroyed had they remained in China, and also account for why there are so much preserved treasures in China today that did survive the 100 years of insanity? Your 'what ifs' are bogus and easy to debunk.
    I believe I originally said GOOD CHANCE (post #3)- which is undeniably true.

    Even if this were true, they would be Chinese relics destroyed by Chinese hands. It's their own property to do with as they see fit. What gives you or any country the right to tell them what property of theirs they should and shouldn't have access to?
    Fine, but now their legal owner is NOT China.

    I already acknowledged that there is no international law (yet) to protect cultural relics from being robbed, but the UN is working on one right now and once it is passed those claims will be realized. Of course, the imperial powers are going to fight the legislation tooth and nail because they believe their thefts are legitimate.
    Even if the UN made a law NOW, it would NOT apply to anything from the 19th century. Even international law recognizes a prohibition on ex post facto application of current international law.

    I don't trust your arguments Ludahai because you are so vehemently anti-PRC. I would make this identical argument for countries like Egypt, Cambodia, and Italy, all who have had their cultural and historical heritage robbed by the greed of former monarchies. Part of the Parthenon is in London right now and Italy wants it back... I believe their claim is legitimate as well.
    I am very anti-PRC, and with good reason. However, the same arguments apply with regards to Egypt and Cambodia.
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    Re: China relics buyer refuses to pay

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    It wanted economic relations with the West. It wanted to sell tea, but didn't want to buy anything in return.
    This is not true. Britain approached the Qing several times requesting trade, and were denied several times while being called Barbarians. See: the McCarthy Expedition. China didn't want to give Britain anything, nor any of the imperial powers.

    Quote Originally Posted by [URL="http://www.wellesley.edu/Polisci/wj/China/208/READINGS/qianlong.html
    Letter[/URL] from Qianlong Emperor to King George III, 1793"]Yesterday your Ambassador petitioned my Ministers to memorialise me regarding your trade with China, but his proposal is not consistent with our dynastic usage and cannot be entertained. Hitherto, all European nations, including your own country's barbarian merchants, have carried on their trade with our Celestial Empire at Canton. Such has been the procedure for many years, although our Celestial Empire possesses all things in prolific abundance and lacks no product within its own borders. There was therefore no need to import the manufactures of outside barbarians in exchange for our own produce. But as the tea, silk and porcelain which the Celestial Empire produces, are absolute necessities to European nations and to yourselves, we have permitted, as a signal mark of favour, that foreign hongs [merchant firms] should be established at Canton, so that your wants might be supplied and your country thus participate in our beneficence.
    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    As for signing the agreements. Are you saying it is ok for China to sign agreements and then not follow them? Sorry, but international law does not allow for that.
    So before you said there was no international law that could be applied at the time, now you are citing international law as reasoning for imperialist atrocities? How hypocritical can you get. In modern times, any treaty or contract signed under duress is worthy of being voided and made invalid.

    After British and French forces destroyed the outpost of Tianjin and headed for the capital to sack Beijing, the Chinese Emperor was obliged to sign the treaties in order to prevent the oblivion of China. If he hadn't signed it, the invasion would have continued until millions more were dead.

    Anyone who has studied the subsequent Treaty of Nanjing knows that it is completely unfair and gives the foreigners unlimited access to Chinese soil. It wasn't just the Qianlong Emperor that could not enforce the treaty, but his own people were rebelling on a large scale.

    You know what... I'm not going to teach you Chinese history. Read a book. None of this justifies why France should be keeping relics now.

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    And of course, the Chinese never invaded anyone, did they?
    If any country wants to make a claim that China is holding their relics, then I equally support such action. This has nothing to do with me taking China's side in particular... I take the side of any nation that has been robbed by imperialism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ludahai
    Can you cite any instances where the French government confiscated treasures that were in private hands and returned to the countries from which they originated?
    France returns looted Italian pottery

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    There is a legal process. China should try and use it.
    The Hague Convention and the 4th Geneva Convention are post 1907, just after the imperial powers were forced out. However, the UN is currently making a new convention for signing that would acknowledge claims from even earlier.

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    I believe I originally said GOOD CHANCE (post #3)- which is undeniably true.
    Great, so you acknowledge that there is no evidence to prove that it definitely would have happened. I accept your concession on this point.

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    Fine, but now their legal owner is NOT China.
    Legal from what perspective? Under Chinese law, it would have been illegal to take them in the first place. So according to the law of the country they were stolen from, they should be returned. Too bad there is no international court to acknowledge this.

    Like I said, if France wants to alienate Franco-Chinese relations and lose billions in trade, then fools and their money are soon parted.

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    Even if the UN made a law NOW, it would NOT apply to anything from the 19th century. Even international law recognizes a prohibition on ex post facto application of current international law.
    I don't know the specific details of the most recent convention that is being made, but my assumption would be that it would at least formulate a forum wherein countries could make a claim and have it recognized on an international scale.

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    I am very anti-PRC, and with good reason. However, the same arguments apply with regards to Egypt and Cambodia.
    This is why I do not place much faith in the former imperial powers, even now. In modern times, they are just as selfish and inconsiderate of their past misdeeds as they were at the time. If any of them truly acknowledged their sins they would do the right thing and give back what is not theirs. But since it was the First and Second World Wars that forced the shutdown of European Imperialism, and not their own free will, I can see why little progress has been made in the reparations department.

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    Re: China relics buyer refuses to pay

    Quote Originally Posted by Orius View Post
    This is not true. Britain approached the Qing several times requesting trade, and were denied several times while being called Barbarians. See: the McCarthy Expedition. China didn't want to give Britain anything, nor any of the imperial powers.
    Your citation confirms exactly what I said. The Chinese sold tea (and porcelain) but didn't want to purchase anything.

    So before you said there was no international law that could be applied at the time, now you are citing international law as reasoning for imperialist atrocities? How hypocritical can you get. In modern times, any treaty or contract signed under duress is worthy of being voided and made invalid.
    You are guilty of selective reading. I said that there was no international law that could be applied regarding the relics. Treaties are recognized under internaitonal law and China was arguably in violation of those treaties. You are correct that in modern international law, treaties signed under duress are regarded as invalid, but there was no such provision in the 19th century.

    After British and French forces destroyed the outpost of Tianjin and headed for the capital to sack Beijing, the Chinese Emperor was obliged to sign the treaties in order to prevent the oblivion of China. If he hadn't signed it, the invasion would have continued until millions more were dead.
    Well, then China shouldn't have violated its earlier treaties.

    Anyone who has studied the subsequent Treaty of Nanjing knows that it is completely unfair and gives the foreigners unlimited access to Chinese soil. It wasn't just the Qianlong Emperor that could not enforce the treaty, but his own people were rebelling on a large scale.
    Oh, it wasn't fair. Back to that whining about the "Century of Humiliation?" Most treaties prior to the modern era were unfair. That is what happens when one country defeats another on the battlefield. If the Chinese Qing government had not been so arrogant in dealing with the Western powers (as indicated in the excerpt you provided earlier) then things would likely have been very different.

    You know what... I'm not going to teach you Chinese history. Read a book. None of this justifies why France should be keeping relics now.
    You don't have to teach me Chinese history. I am quite familiar with it thank you very much. France is not keeping the relics. They are in the estate of Yves St. Laurent.

    If any country wants to make a claim that China is holding their relics, then I equally support such action. This has nothing to do with me taking China's side in particular... I take the side of any nation that has been robbed by imperialism.
    And they may have a MORAL claim, but not a legal one.


    France returns looted Italian pottery

    Completely different situation. Those were RECENTLY excavated IN VIOLATION of existing international protocols regarding the trafficking of cultural treasures.

    The Hague Convention and the 4th Geneva Convention are post 1907, just after the imperial powers were forced out. However, the UN is currently making a new convention for signing that would acknowledge claims from even earlier.
    Source?

    Great, so you acknowledge that there is no evidence to prove that it definitely would have happened. I accept your concession on this point.
    You change the parameters of what was said, and then taunt based on that. Typical.

    Legal from what perspective? Under Chinese law, it would have been illegal to take them in the first place. So according to the law of the country they were stolen from, they should be returned. Too bad there is no international court to acknowledge this.
    Too bad that law goes out the window during wartime.

    Like I said, if France wants to alienate Franco-Chinese relations and lose billions in trade, then fools and their money are soon parted.
    What do you expect the French government to do? Violate its own laws and confiscate the relics? Typical of the Sino/Russo contempt for the rule of law.

    I don't know the specific details of the most recent convention that is being made, but my assumption would be that it would at least formulate a forum wherein countries could make a claim and have it recognized on an international scale.
    I would suggest you find a source since you are the one bringing it up. Again, it is a general principle of international law to not enforce new laws in an ex post facto fashion.

    This is why I do not place much faith in the former imperial powers, even now. In modern times, they are just as selfish and inconsiderate of their past misdeeds as they were at the time. If any of them truly acknowledged their sins they would do the right thing and give back what is not theirs. But since it was the First and Second World Wars that forced the shutdown of European Imperialism, and not their own free will, I can see why little progress has been made in the reparations department.
    As I said, there is a different between MORAL right and LEGAL right. SOrry you can't see that I HAVE made a distinction between the two and that I am arguing purely from a LEGAL perspective.
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