19 July 2016
Dear Mr Wan,
Re: Law on Trading of Artefacts In Many Countries Such As France
Our AHM group is very happy and proud that Juyi is doing an auction in Paris in November 2016. We would like to advise and help you on your coming auction in Paris and to make it a great success.
We would like to share with you some important information we know about a certain international treaty or convention that ALL the big Western auction houses (such as Sothebys, Christies and Bonhams) have followed very strictly.
As you know, selling certain artefacts without legal proof of ownership can be very sensitive in China. This is also the case in overseas countries such as France and this treaty is the LAW on buying or selling of artefacts which all auction houses, dealers or brokers must abide. If you are still not sure after reading this letter, please clarify this matter below with your company lawyers and your partners in France.
The United Nations treaty that I am talking about is called the “Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. Paris, 14 November 1970”. It is the first international treaty dedicated to the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property. It was adopted at the 16th General Conference of UNESCO on 14 November 1970 in Paris and came into force on 24 April 1972. As of March 2016, 131 nations are parties to the treaty.
我所指的是聯合國條約, “1970年11月14日巴黎，禁止和防止非法文化財產所有權的進口，出口和轉讓” 條約。它是致力于打擊非法販運文化財產的第一個國際條約。它于1970 年 11 月 14 日第16 屆在巴黎舉行的教科文組織大會 上被通過，1972 年 4 月 24 日生效。截至2016年3月，經有131 個國家是該條約的締約國。
France was the country that initiated this convention, that was why the United Nations organized the international conference on this issue in Paris in 1970. France is very passionate and committed to fight the illegal trade of artefacts and France also dare not offend China.
Here is the summary from UNESCO website on why the convention was needed.
這里是教科文組織網站上”為何需要公約 “ 的摘要。
"At the end of the 1960 and in the beginning of the 1970s, thefts were increasing both in museums and at archaeological sites, particularly in the countries of the South. In the North, private collectors and, sometimes, official institutions, were increasingly offered objects that had been fraudulently imported or were of unidentified originIt is in this context, and to address such situations, the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property was created in 1970.” (Note: “South” means developing countries such as China, India and Malaysia while “North” means the developed countries such as countries in Europe and America).
在 1960 年代末和 1970 年代初，盜竊事件在博物館和考古遺址，尤其是在南方國家不斷的增加。在北方，私人收藏家甚至是官方機構，有越來越多貨源提供來路不明或以欺詐手段導入當地的藝術品。它是在這種情況下，為求解決這種情況下，”公約” 于 1970 年創建并 采取措施禁止和防止非法進口、 出口和轉讓文化財產的所有權"。 ( 注:"南方"是指發展中國家如中國、 印度和馬來西亞而"北方"是指在歐洲和美國等先進發展國家。)
Many developing countries, including China and Malaysia, refused to sign the convention at that time as it was not far reaching enough and did not cover thefts, looting and forced seizure of artefacts by the colonial powers BEFORE 1970. Since then, many of these countries have accepted that "half is better than none". As they could not do anything for the illegal trade of artefacts BEFORE 1970, it is still constructive and better to do something for artefacts traded or acquired AFTER 1970.
許多發展中國家，包括中國和馬來西亞，當時拒絕簽署公約 ，因為它并不涉及包括在 1970 年以前被殖民國家盜竊、 搶劫、強迫沒收的藝術品。之后，有很多國家采納 "一半總比沒有好"的觀奌。因為他們沒有辦法対1970 年以前進行的非法藝術品貿易采取任何対策，但它仍然対1970 年后藝術品交易具有建設性和有所益処。
China, the biggest victim of stolen and looted artefacts by the colonial powers and the retreating forces of Chiang KaiShek, finally signed the Convention in 1989, when the pragmatic Deng Xiaoping was still the "paramount leader". Malaysia has still not signed the Convention yet. 1989 年，殖民國家最大的被盜、 被掠奪藝術品受害者、包括撤退的部隊蔣介石，中國終于簽署了公約。當務實主義的鄧小平仍然是"最高領導人"時，馬來西亞仍未簽署公約 。
What I am saying is that Juyi and the collectors of certain artefacts would be taking high risks if the artefacts concerned are special and precious (national treasures), especially those artefacts produced before the Ming DynastyThe government of France may even seize and confiscate the sensitive artefacts unless there is evidence that the artefacts were acquired or owned LEGALLY such as those artefacts belonging to AHM, which we have a High Court Documents to prove.
There may be some loopholes or innovative ways that Juyi may consider for the auction in Paris in November.
One way is for the sensitive artefacts to be kept in Malaysia under the collectors’ control and Juyi and AHM can arrange for potential buyers from overseas to come to Malaysia to view them. Even that, Juyi has to be careful as if there are any complaints, then Juyi may get into trouble for selling illegally acquired artefacts or artefacts with questionable legality.
一種方法是為敏感的藝術品，藏家們在馬來西亞擁有控制權，珍寶和 AHM 可以安排為來自海外的潛在買家前來馬來西亞查看。儘管如此，珍寶必須要小心，因為如果有任何投訴，可能陷入合法性和賣非法所得藝術品的困境。
Another way is to do private sales for these collectors like what you are doing for AHM now.
另一種方式是像你現在為 AHM所作一樣，為這些收藏家 做私人銷售。
Therefore, we have to be selective on artefacts that we should accept for your Paris auction in November from the collectors here whom we would know at our next authentication event here from 11 August to 14 August . Doing authentication for all artefacts offered to us is not a problem but for your auction in Paris in November, we need to screen the artefacts and owners carefully in order to protect our (Juyi and AHM)’s reputation and image.
因此，在8 月 11 日到 8 月 14 日我們下一個鑑寶活動中 的藝術品挑選，我們必須選擇性的從收藏家里挑選我們應該接受的藝術品以參加11 月的巴黎競賣 。対所有的藝術品，提供驗證不是一個問題，但對于你 11 月在巴黎的競賣，為了保護我們 （珍寶及 AHM） 的聲譽和形象，我們需要仔細篩選藝術品和物主。
Anyway, please check the information we have given you and let’s discuss further again. Of course, we would want Juyi to sell, via auction or private sales, as many as possible good quality artefacts sourced from Malaysia.
AHM is also keen to sell a large portion of our collection at the coming auction in Paris and the good news is that we can prove the legality of our artefacts.
Thank you and we look forward to seeing you in Kuala Lumpur soon.
On Behalf of Asian Heritage Museum (AHM)