Saturday, July 14, 2007

China Strikes Back on Behalf of the Last Emperor

I was working in China about 11 years ago and was lucky enough to visit the Forbidden City in Beijing - it is without doubt a remarkable place. It has an amazing ambience and you can see why it is so special to the Chinese. The Forbidden City was built in 1420 and was home to 24 emperors until the end of imperial rule in 1911. I took this picture to show the building out of which the boy walked, in the scene from 'The Last Emperor', when he sees his soldiers standing in front of him. Great scene - great movie.

There's news today that Starbucks have been forced to close their coffee outlet inside the Forbidden City, close to where my photo was taken. An online campaign arguing that the shop was trampling on Chinese culture had drawn more than 500,000 signatures. I have to say I agree. If it were Starbucks trying to put a shop inside the grounds of Westminster Abbey I'd be up in arms. Don't feel too bad for Starbucks they have nearly 200 outlets in China and opened the Forbidden City shop seven years ago.

1 comment:

r morris said...

I agree. Free enterprise is wonderful but so are the aesthetics of historical sites.