The Bamiyazation of Cultural Heritage and the Silk Road Economic Belt: Challenges and Opportunities for China

The Chinese Journal of Comparative Law 3:2 (2015) 1-19

Posted: 20 Sep 2015

See all articles by Marina Lostal

Marina Lostal

The Hague University of Applied Sciences - International Law

Guilherme Vasconcelos Vilaça

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) - Law School

Date Written: September 19, 2015

Abstract

In 2013, the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, announced an ambitious new agenda for Chinese foreign policy: the Silk Road Economic Belt. Heralded as a gift from China to the world, his envisioned program aims to resurrect the historical Silk Road, which linked East and West by land and sea. The historical Silk Road was built to facilitate trade, but it grew to have a distinct wider political and cultural impact. In this article, we argue that this political and cultural impact is currently being threatened by what we call the ‘Bamiyazation phenomenon’ — an iconoclastic movement with transnational dimensions that particularly affects routes along the Silk Road. We contend that China should adopt a more holistic approach to the development of the twenty-first century Silk Road. To this end, we suggest that China should spearhead the defence and protection of the world’s cultural heritage through implementing and promoting a specified ‘crime against common cultural heritage’ in order to counteract the effects of the Bamiyazation phenomenon and to support the development of China’s new international identity as a power that, in Xi Jinping’s own words, ‘adopt[s] a right approach with some important principles.’

Keywords: international law: crime against common cultural heritage; Silk Road Economic Belt; Bamiyazation; China; normative leadership

Suggested Citation

Lostal, Marina and Vilaça, Guilherme Vasconcelos, The Bamiyazation of Cultural Heritage and the Silk Road Economic Belt: Challenges and Opportunities for China (September 19, 2015). The Chinese Journal of Comparative Law 3:2 (2015) 1-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2662785

Marina Lostal (Contact Author)

The Hague University of Applied Sciences - International Law ( email )

Stamkartplein 40
Hague
Netherlands

Guilherme Vasconcelos Vilaça

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) - Law School ( email )

Río Hondo No.1
Álvaro Obregón, Mexico City
Mexico

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