BEIJING (XINHUA) – The Palace Museum in China apologised late on Friday (Jan 17) for its oversight after a woman drove a car inside the Forbidden City, according to its official Weibo account.
The incident came to light after four pictures were posted on social media showing a vehicle parked at a corner of the square in front of the Gate of Supreme Harmony, or Taihemen.
The pictures, shown to be taken on Monday, the museum’s scheduled day of closure, were posted by the driver on Sina Weibo and triggered intense outrage among Chinese netizens.
Some netizens demanded further investigations into the incident while others expressed disappointment at the museum management for failing to protect the world cultural heritage site.
A car-driving ban in the Palace Museum was put in place in 2013 during Shan Jixiang’s tenure as curator. He explained that it was a matter of cultural dignity as driving was also forbidden in the Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom and the Versailles Palace in France.
This year marks the 600th anniversary of the Forbidden City, also the 95th anniversary of the establishment of the Palace Museum.