23:45 GMT26 February 2020
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    The Forbidden City in Beijing is one of China’s top historical and cultural landmarks. A World Heritage Site, it is one of the most visited places in the country. The site’s significance is due, in part, to serving as the imperial palace of the nation between 1420-1912.

    Photos of an apparently wealthy woman inside the Forbidden City, at the center of Beijing, sparked anger among some social media users in China, as vehicles are banned inside the historical site.

    Chines national Lu Xiaobao on 17 January posted pictures of herself with a friend next to a black Mercedes-Benz vehicle in front of the famous Gate of Supreme Harmony in Beijing’s Forbidden City.

    "On Monday the Palace Museum is closed, so I hurried over, hid from the crowds, and went to play in the Forbidden City," Lu told her social media followers on the popular Chinese online network Weibo.

    Although Xiaobao later deleted her post after facing harsh criticism, the photos went viral, raising more questions, including how she was able to gain access to the sensitive area with an automobile. Users demanded officials at the site provide an explanation regarding the incident, among increasing claims that the rich in Beijing boast connections that enable them to enjoy special privileges not allowed to workers and citizens.

    The Palace Museum administration confirmed in a statement that the incident occurred on Monday, a day set aside for maintenance and renovation, adding that they were “deeply distressed and sincerely apologise to the public,” according to the BBC.

    Access to Beijing's Forbidden City have been closed to vehicles since 2013, in order to protect the hundreds of historic buildings, most from the era of the Qing and Ming dynasties, who ruled the country between 1420 to 1912.

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    Tags:
    heritage, historical, landmarks, anger, car, Forbidden City, Beijing, China
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