News FocusArchaeology in China

Landing the Looters

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Science  21 Aug 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5943, pp. 937
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_937

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Summary

In a land chock-full of wealthy tombs and poor farmers, grave robbing is an ancient tradition. But in the past decade, China has tightened its laws against looting, a reflection of changing attitudes toward archaeological treasures (see main text). Now those who destroy the country's past face jail terms and even the death penalty, although no one appears to have actually been executed for looting. Earlier this year, the United States and China agreed to work together to prevent smuggling of looted Chinese antiquities. But local governments don't always follow the central government's directives.