Assault victim was illegal tour guide: Palace Museum

Updated: 2014-03-14 09:02

By Sun Yuanqing (China Daily)

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The Palace Museum clarified rumors about a security guard beating a tourist at the museum in a statement issued on Wednesday.

A video was posted online on Monday showing a man tussling with several security guards in the museum square. The video was reposted on several major video websites.

The museum said in its statement that the man was an illegal tour guide who has been selling illegal tours of the museum for years with his sister. The two have been punished by the police several times.

The Palace Museum in the Forbidden City receives about 15 million visitors every year, drawing numerous scalpers, illegal tour guides and pamphlet distributors seeking money from visitors.

These activities not only pose a safety risk to visitors and the museum, but also damage the image of the city, the statement said.

Yu Ning, who visits the Palace Museum four to five times a year, said she is very bothered by the pamphlet distributors and illegal tour guides both in and out of the Forbidden City.

"As soon as I get near the palace, these people come up and bug me. They sometimes even pull on me. It's really annoying. The museum should take stronger measures and at least ban them from the palace," Yu said.

The Palace Museum launched a campaign against illegal vendors last year, evicting more than 14,000 illegal pamphlet distributors and nearly 3,000 illegal tour guides. More than 180,000 fliers and about 200 fake certificates were confiscated, and more than 600 people were handed over to the police.

The museum said in its statement that the illegal vendors even threaten and beat security guards, as has happened five times within the last three months. Without law enforcement, the museum is not able to get rid of the vendors by itself, especially when they are large in number and move around all the time.

Shan Jixiang, curator of the museum, proposed establishing a professional law enforcement team within the museum. A member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Shan made the proposal during the annual session of the national political advisory body that ended on Wednesday.

"Having a security team inside the Forbidden City will allow us to create a safer and more orderly experience for the visitors," Shan was quoted by China News Service as saying.

The Palace Museum will work with the public security department to tighten security as the busy season approaches, the statement said.