This chapter explores the protection of cultural heritage in Asia. Rapid socioeconomic transformation in East Asia and South East Asia has posed a serious challenge to the cultural heritage of the sub-regions. The substantial damage and destruction inflicted on the cultural heritage, coupled with the growth of public awareness on its importance for national identity, prompted the governments in the region to take action, in particular through promulgation of the laws and regulations for the protection of cultural heritage. In so doing, the meaning of cultural heritage has generally expanded beyond the traditional, tangible cultural objects into intangible and underwater cultural heritage. A series of international conventions for the protection of cultural heritage, adopted under the auspices of UNESCO, has undoubtedly provided much impetus. Also, the question of return or repatriation of cultural objects to their countries of origin looms increasingly large in Asia.
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