Forbidden City hit by 'rich club' scandal

10:24, May 14, 2011      

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The company that manages the 591-year-old Forbidden City, one of China's most famous historical sites, denied allegations made by a famous TV anchor Friday that there is an exclusive club for the world's wealthiest people based in one of its compounds.

China Central Television anchor Rui Chenggang said on his microblog Wednesday that Jianfugong, one of the many palaces that make up the sprawling imperial complex, has become "a private club for the exclusive use of the 500 richest people in the world."

In the entry, Rui said a foreign guide told him two days ago that he had just arranged a dinner for a billionaire's family from the US in a hall that is not open to public.

Rui revealed that a "noted company and organization that manages the Forbidden City" is in charge of the club.

Chang Lingxing, a Forbidden City public relations employee, told the Global Times Friday that the allegations are groundless and the company has already delivered a formal response on its official microblog on

"The location is mainly used to receive distinguished guests from home and abroad, hold cultural exchange activities such as salons and lectures, and hold conferences. (The palace) doesn't have a so-called exclusive club for top billionaires," said the statement.

The statement also said the Forbidden City Culture Development Company (FCCDC) is in charge of the palace's maintenance.

Jianfugong was rebuilt in 2005 with money from the Hong Kong-based China Heritage Fund after it burned down in 1924. The restored palace has received visits from several renowned figures, including some who have made contributions to its renovation.

However, Internet users have been bombarding online portals and microblogs with angry comments.

"How could such a solemn place be defiled in this way? Shame and sorrow," commented a Web user named Muziyu.

"It's despicable. What's wrong with modern society? This is a historical heritage for the Chinese people," said another web user MY Ruby.

However, some also called for the public to keep calm.

"Rui is talking nonsense and lacks professional ethics. He is either deliberately distorting the facts or degrading the Forbidden City to please and impress the public," said a media worker named Wang Ge.

An FCCDC employee told the Beijing Times Thursday that Rui was indulging in speculation to gain fame.

"It's not true that money can buy every service in the Forbidden City. Everything the company is engaged in is aimed at spreading culture, not the pursuit of commercial interests, " the employee said.

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Source:By Huang Jingjing,Global Times
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