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Open books, PKU students urge Forbidden City

MAY . 27 2011

Peking University, May 27, 2011: Full disclosure by the Forbidden City of its 2008-10 gate income and spending has been demanded by three people associated with Peking University (PKU) Law School, domestic news media reported Thursday.

 

 

The Forbidden City with thousands of tourists (sina.com)

 

Law school graduate Cheng Xiezhong and doctoral graduate students Li Yuanyuan and Chen Yan applied to China’s Ministry of Finance on Wednesday and sent a fax of the same application to the Palace Museum – the official name of the Forbidden City – on Tuesday, Beijing News reported.

 

"Recent scandals involving the museum including the stolen curios and the private club at the Jianfu Palace hall have reminded us of problems with the management of the museum," Li told the Global Times Thursday. "So we applied in the hope of knowing more about its management."

 

The Ministry of Finance funds the Palace Museum through the Ministry of Culture, the paper reported.

 

Gate receipts worth about 500 million yuan ($77 million) a year were turned over to the State treasury and after the museum's budget was approved by the ministries of finance and culture, the finance ministry funds the museum as a direct subordinate unit of the Ministry of Culture.

 

"Everything goes to cultural relic protection," museum spokesman Feng Nai’en told the Economic Daily website on May 5.

 

As a public-funded institution with cultural relics that belong to all Chinese, the museum should inform the public of its budget and expenditure, Li argued Thursday.

 

Passed by China’s State Council in 2007, the 2008 Regulations on the Disclosure of Government Information require all public-funded institutions to do this, she alleged.

 

He had been to the Palace Museum in Taipei in 2009, where the budget and expenditure were open to the public through its annual report on the official website, said Cheng Xiezhong, who graduated from PKU Law School last year.

 

"Such information can't be found on the website of the museum in Beijing," he told the Global Times.

 

There has been no official response, Li said.

 

The museum had forwarded the applications to the Ministry of Culture and only the ministry could decide whether to publicize the information, Forbidden City publicity office worker Chang Lingxing told the Global Times Thursday.

 

He supported the students, Wang Yukai, a professor with the National School of Administration in Beijing, told the Global Times.

 

Prof. Wang Yukai (people.com.cn)

 

"As a public place with large gate receipts every year where disclosure of information concerning those receipts doesn't involve State secrets or State security, there's sufficient reason for the people to ask to be informed," he said Thursday.

 

 

Reported by: Pan Yan

Edited by: Arthars 

Source: Global Times