Palace Museum issues new rules, bans commercial photography to avoid ‘off-track’ activities

Palace Museum issues new rules, bans commercial photography to avoid ‘off-track’ activities




The Palace Museum, one of Beijing’s most visited cultural landmarks, issued a notice on Thursday specifying multiple new visiting rules including a ban on “interviews” and “commercial photography.” 

The notice indicates that without the permission of the museum, activities such as performances, on-site surveys, religious events or commercial shoots will not be permitted on site.

Noting that the new rules will come into effect on June 30, the museum also announced that anyone who violates the rules to a serious degree will be listed as an “uncivilized tourist.” 

Fang Qiongqiong, a cultural sociologist based in Shanghai, told the Global Times that these rules aim to “avoid potential chaos and off-track behavior at historical sites like the Palace Museum,” she added. 

“Especially at places like the Palace Museum, it is very much a subtle job to balance the public venue’s social and cultural role and its historical importance,” Fang added. 

Efforts to avoid “off-track behavior” seems to have increased at hot tourist spots in China following the recent “Sanlitun Affair” incident that made street photography and invasion of privacy the center of heated debate. 

The Palace Museum’s ban on commercial shoots is one of the more notable rule changes. A staff member with the museum’s Management Office told media that commercial shoots can often be seen “all day long” at the venue and sometiems even delay the museum’s standard closing time. 

The museum’s new rules, particularly the photography and filming ban, have become a hot topic on Sina Weibo, where netizens have expressed mixed responses. Some netizens wonder if online streaming at the museum will also be banned too.

“I support the new regulation, the short video age is outrageous and people can do crazy things at public spaces for attention,” one netizen posted on Sina Weibo. 

Chen Fei, a vlogger who often visits the Palace Museum for her fashion shoots, told the Global Times that “it is such a shame for cultural content freelancers.” 

“The Palace Museum boasts the essence of Chinese aesthetics and many Chinese and overseas creators have used it as inspiration for videos and images,” Chen said. 

According to data, the Palace Museum welcomed 30,000 visitors on January 1, one of its most busiest days. On lifestyle sharing platform The Little Red Book, tags such as “Palace Museum’s autumn view” and “snowy Palace Museum,” are constant trending tags.   

“The new ban might reduce the museum’s exposures on the internet,” Chen remarked. 

The notice also specified items such as suitcases with seats, floor tripods and commercial photography equipment will also be “regulated and managed.” Day tickets will not be sold at the The Palace Museum at the door anymore, meaning all visitors must make reservations beforehand with their real names.