Beijing says it has closed down private clubs operating out of two historic temples near the Forbidden City in yet another crack-down in line with China’s anti-extravagance campaign.
A Xinhua report from December revealed that luxurious clubs and restaurants, located in the Songzhu Temple and Zhizhu Temple, were offering upscale services to customers without proper licenses or approval from the government.
The Temple Beijing Restaurant is still open, although images of the business were included in the original report (it was never named, however). Soon after the report came out, an investor of the company whose Beijing subsidiary rents the Zhizhu Temple said in a New York Times article that the accusations against the restaurant were unfair, and that it was a properly licensed business open to the public.
“We’ve put years of hard work to restore this place,” the investor, Lin Fan, was quoted as saying. “As you can see, many of the architectural details on our buildings are the same as Lama Temple’s. We want this to be an important cultural heritage destination for visitors.”
A team comprised of members from the Beijing municipal discipline inspection authority along with the local industry and commerce, taxation and finance committees launched an overnight inspection of the sites of the private clubs and ordered the shutdown. The team found that specific government departments were also responsible for ‘serious’ dereliction of duty, Xinhua reports.
In 2014, China banned private clubs in parks and historical buildings, among other facilities, as part of Xi Jinping’s sweeping battle against corruption.