JEAIL > Volume 10(1); 2017 > Regional Focus & Controversies
Research Paper
Published online: May 30, 2017

Can Chinese Individuals Request the Restitution of Chinese Cultural Relics in Japan?: A Revisit under International Law

Hui Zhong
TC Beirne School of Law, Forgan Smith Building, St Lucia Campus, Queensland, Australia.
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non- commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


During the Japanese Occupation of China (1931-45), countless Chinese cultural relics were simply destroyed or looted in accordance with Japan's notorious 'Three Alls Campaign,' also known as 'Burn all, loot all, and kill all'. Due to the 1972 Japan-Chian Joint Communiqu?, however, the Chinese Government renounced its demand for war reparation from Japan. The question then becomes whether, when the Chinese Government renounced its claims for war reparations in a peace treaty. Chinese individuals still have a means to vindicate their rights to request restitution of Chinese cultural relics from Japan. The primary purpose of this research is to tackle two questions: First, was the taking of Chinese cultural relics during the Japanese Occupation prohibited by law? Second, can the Chinese individuals legally require the restitution of looted cultural relics? This paper handles a case of a 1300-year's old Tang dynasty stele in Japan which has been asked to hand over to China since 2014

Keywords : Chinese Cultural Relics, Japanese Occupation, Restitution and Individual Requests

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