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Beijinger files lawsuit against Palace Museum

Category:[world] [CHINA] [Regional]

A Beijing man has filed a lawsuit against the Palace Museum - part of the Forbidden City - for failing to lower the price of the entrance ticket and offering a clear notice to visitors that many of the Forbidden City sites were closed for renovation.

"I didn't know anything about the restoration even after I had bought the ticket at the full price," said the plaintiff Lei Guoya, who works in a law office in the capital.

"Only on entering did I find the Hall of Supreme Harmony padlocked and many 'No Entry' signs around the construction site," Lei said.

According to the People's Court of Beijing's Dongcheng District, the court has already put the case on file.

However, an official with the museum said the museum has put up various construction notices near the ticket office and held a press conference before renovation began.

According to Lei, he later found a 14-inch Chinese sign that read "Palace Under Repair" five meters away from the ticket office.

"But it was so small the crowd waiting to buy tickets was obscuring it," Lei said.

"I have longed to visit the Hall of Supreme Harmony, but I couldn't enter it even if I had paid the full price." said Lei. He asked the museum to apologize and return the ticket price of 60 yuan (7.5 U.S. dollars).

According to the museum, they have not received the indictment yet.

The Hall of Supreme Harmony, the most grandiose hall of the Forbidden City, closed for renovations on January 6 this year and will reopen at the end of 2007.

The renovation project is part of larger efforts that begun in 2001 to restore the imperial grandeur of the 585-year-old palace, the former residence of 24 emperors.

The Palace Museum is one of the country's biggest tourist attractions, drawing some 7 million visitors a year.



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