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China’s First Public Interest Lawsuit on Cultural Heritage Protection Ruled

Mon, 10 Oct 2022
Categories: China Legal Trends

On 30 Aug. 2022, the Jiujiang Intermediate People’s Court of Jiangxi Province (hereinafter the “Jiujiang Intermediate Court”) held a public hearing for a public interest lawsuit filed by the Jiujiang People’s Procuratorate against the defendant Chen for the protection of movable cultural relics. At the hearing, the Jiujiang Intermediate Court rendered the first-instance judgment, in which it required the defendant to bear the cost for cultural relics restoration (CNY 100,000) and the expert evaluation cost, and to publish an apology statement in the national media.

This is China’s first public-interest civil lawsuit involving the protection of movable cultural relics. For more information on Chinese procuratorates’ authority in public litigation, please read our previous post, “How China’s Procuratorates Conducts Public Interest Litigation?”.

In 2020, the defendant Chen excavated an antique bronze bell without permission and caused damage to it. In December 2021, Chen was sentenced to two years and five months in prison and fined CNY 20,000 for the illicit trafficking of cultural relics.

The Jiujiang Intermediate Court held those cultural relics, as the tangible remains of history, are of non-renewable and irreplaceable value to history, science, and art. In the court’s view, Chen’s damage to cultural relics had harmed the public interest, and therefore he should bear criminal and tort liability.



Cover Photo by Alessio Lin on Unsplash

Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team

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