Rich club company accused by Forbidden City to be investigated

15:25, May 18, 2011      

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The company accused by the Forbidden City of turning its Jianfu Palace into a private club for the rich was allegedly involved in fraudulent registration, and the Beijing Administration of Industry and Commerce (BAIC) has promised to investigate it, the website of People's Daily said Tuesday.

The imperial palace-turned-museum said on its official Tencent microblog Monday that turning the Jianfu Palace into a club was an unauthorized move taken by the Forbidden City Cultural Development Company (FCCDC), the museum's subsidiary, and the action had been stopped.

FCCDC was set up in 2005 by the Beijing Forbidden City Culture Service Center, a subsidiary of the Forbidden City, and Hong Kong Yicheng Investment Co, according to the museum microblog.
The Beijing-based Legal Mirror said Tuesday that the registration address of the company did not exist, and the Hong Kong company was dissolved in 2000.

A BAIC telephone operator told the website Tuesday it was likely that the dissolved Hong Kong company entered into the joint venture with the Forbidden City by providing false information.

"When receiving the registration information from a company, the examination performed by the administration is only a formality and it is unable to check the authenticity of each piece of information," the telephone operator was quoted as saying.

A post on the Sina microblog revealed that the museum last month handed out registration forms for a club inside the Jianfu Palace to provide banquets and conference services to a limited membership of 500, and the entrance fee was 1 million yuan ($153,901).

The Forbidden City on its official microblog accused its subsidiary company of the move and claimed its leaders never knew about it.

Many historical buildings in China have been rented out or transformed into luxury hotels, restaurants, offices or clubs to make money.

The Diaoyutai State Guesthouse and MGM Group in the US signed a contract and drew up a plan in 2009 to transform buildings dating back to the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) near the Yonghegong Lama Temple in Beijing into luxury spa hotels, 21st Century Business Herald reported in March last year.

Liu Qingzhu, an archeology expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said it was acceptable for historical tourist spots to operate some of their sites for commercial purposes, but they should be for promoting culture.

"The main premise for the operation is that it won't damage the buildings or any cultural relics," Liu said to the Global Times, adding that the profits from the operation should be used for public cultural undertakings such as special funds for repairing ancient buildings.

Source: Global Times
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