Media reports have unveiled new evidence accusing the Palace Museum at the Forbidden City of spending 100,000 yuan ($15,460) to coverup a scandal in 2009. While denying any “hush money” was paid, museum authorities admitted an employee was fired at the time for being involved.
Citing unnamed sources, Beijing-based caing.com reported Wednesday guides brought tourists into the Palace Museum without buying tickets at the gate and split the money they charged the tourists with museum security guards in 2009.
A museum staff member who wanted 20,000 yuan to stay quiet once witnessed the scheme.
Instead of reporting the incident to the police, a Forbidden City official was sent to negotiate with the blackmailer and offered 100,000 yuan ($15,460) that was sanctioned from the financial department. The entire episode ended with one employee of the museum being fired.
Museum spokesman, Chang Lingxing, said no proof has ever appeared the museum was blackmailed.
“We cooperated well with the police on that case. It was totally a rumor insinuating any hush money was involved back then,” Chang said.
Chang refused to give more details but admitted one employee was involved in the secret distribution of ticket revenue.
The Caing report said the Ministry of Finance will publish the budget and the expenditures of the museum, but without a clear time schedule.
“All the gate receipt revenue was turned over to the finance ministry and everything goes to cultural relic protection,” Chang told the Global Times Wednesday.