A woman driving inside the premised of the heavily guarded Forbidden City in Beijing, one of the most iconic landmarks in China, has led to widespread outrage on social media, a report said on Saturday.
The woman Lu Xiaobao posted photos of herself, a friend and her car in the empty Forbidden City. Although she has since deleted them, they quickly went viral, the BBC report said. Lu posted several pictures on her Sina Weibo microblog account on Friday saying: "On Monday the Palace Museum is closed, so I hurried over, hid from the crowds, and went to play in the Forbidden City."
When social media users saw the pictures, they quickly started asking questions, while urging the site's authorities to offer an explanation. Weibo users were stunned to see not only pictures of Lu and her friend at an empty site, but also her huge luxury car, which she drove onto the complex, which is often closed on Mondays, for maintenance and renovation work.
The hashtag #DrivingIntoTheForbiddenCity went viral on Saturday and has been used hundreds of thousands of times. Users acknowledged that Lu has deleted her original pictures, but as one user, whose comment has been shared more than 400,000 times, said: "Deleting the pictures is useless; the entire Chinese nation has seen them."
Yet to make a statement
In response to the development, the site's Palace Museum said that it was "deeply distressed and sincerely apologises to the public", reports the BBC. Lu is yet to make an official statement.
The Forbidden City is a huge complex of significant cultural and historical importance. Made up of courtyards, palaces and gardens, it is home to imperial collections of Ming and Qing dynasty art and artefacts. Its main entrance is famous for a portrait of Mao Zedong, the founder of the Chinese Communist Party, and next to the government building, the Great Hall of the People, and the symbolic Tiananmen Square.