Thanks to an initiative of The Painter's Keys, an online community of artists, the digital copies of the works of living artist were removed from the site. This only happened after a Painter's Key newsletter that goes to 135.000 artists to protest by email to the Chinese embassies in the US, UK, Australia and Canada. See here the Painter's Key protest site: International Theft Arch-world information. The artists are concerned about the copyrighted works of right holders that are still on the arch-world.cn site. They demand to know how many copies of their works were made and want a reasonable compensation.
Miro Cernetig of the Vancouver Sun wrote that the Canadian Embassy in Beijing sent a diplomatic letter of protest to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Trading and Law Department. It is not clear if the Chinese government intervened. Read more here.
China is since 1992 a signatory of the Berne Convention, see here. The Copyright Law of the PRC is compatible with this treaty.
Paintings are works (article 3 (4) that include fine arts; the term copyright includes the right of reproduction, that is, the right to produce one or more copies of a work by printing, photocopying, lithographing, making a sound recording or video recording, duplicating a recording, or duplicating a photographic work or by any other means (article 10 (5).
Except where otherwise provided in this law, the copyright in a work shall belong to its author. The author of a work is the citizen who has created the work (article 11).
Where the copyright in a work belongs to a citizen, the right of exploitation and the rights under Article 10, paragraphs (5) to (17), of this Law in respect of the work shall, after his death, during the term of protection provided for in this Law, be transferred in accordance with the provisions of the Inheritance Law (article 19).
The term of the copyright is lifetime plus fifty years (article 21).