Market China

China looks to clamp down on forgeries

Government aims to tackle the "three fakes": works, sales and auctions

Painters crank out copies in Dafen village, in China's southern city of Shenzhen. Photo: Reuters/Bobby Yip

At the 2012 Beijing Culture and Creative Industry Development Forum in September, Guan Yu, the deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture, announced that the government is considering establishing an art database and improving credit management in the art market. As reported by Legal Daily, the publication of Committee of China’s Political and Legislative Affairs, Beijing will crack down on what it calls the “three fakes” in the current art market: fake works, fake sales, and fake auctions, which have damaged investor value as well as Chinese art’s reputation on the international market.

Currently, buyers of fake works have no legal protections. Chinese auction houses are shielded from any liability by article 61 of the Auction Law of the People’s Republic of China, as long as they state ahead of an auction that they cannot guarantee the authenticity of a work. An unnamed auctioneer expressed to Legal Daily that, due to the difficulty of verifying art authenticity in China, particularly for contemporary pieces, auction houses feel obliged to invoke the disclaimer.

Gao Fuping, the president of the School of Intellectual Property at East China University of Political Science and Law, says that artists in China also need greater protection against having their work illegally copied, though implementing the proposed registration system might prove challenging.

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1 Nov 12
15:18 CET


When we first began our Chinese art business, we began with teapot art. I bought a few old-looking teapots, which I liked for their art, and found out they had famous names stamped on them. Thus, we found out that about 95% of teapot art is fakes. To deal with that, we insisted that we only get art from the artist, which we have carried over to paintings and sculpture as we developed. It is a simple thing to call an artist to verify work, and auctions, now, call us to verify work by a number of artist's we deal with. Moreover, even with recently dead artists, it's easy to find relatives to verify their art. The only difficulty I see is the will to do so, which is the problem with fakes and theft of all kinds of things, in China, because doing so would have a large effect on GDP. It's all both that simple and that complicated.

1 Nov 12
15:18 CET


Article 61 is a very important clause to any auctioneer in any market. You cannot have an auction industry without Article 61.

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