The Forbidden City’s Palace of Established Happiness
Is the old perception about Beijing being the seat of culture, while Shanghai merely serves the idle rich still relevant? New rumors have surfaced alleging a private club for the well-heeled will be housed inside the Forbidden City’s Palace of Established Happiness (建福宫), with membership costing 1 million RMB and limited to 500 of China’s most fabulous.
While the Beijing Forbidden City Cultural Development Company denies the rumors, the Global Times’ relays a report by the Beijing News that lays doubt to those claims:
Citing an unnamed source, the Beijing News reported Sunday that the Palace Museum last month had handed out registration forms for a club located in the Jianfu Palace, rebuilt with money from the Hong Kong-based China Heritage Fund in 2005.
The source told the newspaper that he had attended an opening ceremony for the club organized by the Beijing Forbidden City Cultural Development Company, a subsidiary of the Palace Museum.
The organizer told the source the palace could provide banquet and conference services to its limited membership of 500, the Beijing Times reported.
News of the private club was first brought to light by CCTV News’ Rui Chenggang, who was also partly responsible for preserving the Forbidden City’s cultural sanctity by forcing Starbucks out of the palace grounds in 2003.
If you’re a budding numerologist, then take note that last week’s robbery and the fresh private club scandal are occurring mere months from the centenary of the Xinhai Revolution (辛亥革命), which resulted in China’s last emperor Puyi abdicating from the Forbidden City, and the end of over 2000 years of imperial rule in China. Somewhat inauspicious, no?
By Fan Huang