Museum forced to apologise once again

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 May, 2011, 12:00am


Just days after apologising to a Hong Kong museum for losing several of its relics to a burglary, the Palace Museum yesterday issued another apology - this time to the public for the incorrect use of a Chinese character.

In a banner that the museum sent to the municipal Public Security Bureau on Friday to thank it for catching the thief, a character with the opposite meaning of the intended one was used. The museum, which manages the Forbidden City, meant to say 'protect the motherland's prosperity' but ended up saying 'shake the motherland's prosperity'.

Museum officials posted a letter on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter, saying it was sorry but blamed the museum's security guards for the mistake. It said the security department was responsible for producing the banner, and because of limited time, it was taken directly to the Public Security Bureau without being checked.

'The museum realised the mistake only after the media had reported on it ... What's worse, the department insisted the character was right without letting leaders know. This not only misled the public, but also damaged the reputation of the museum,' the letter read.

The museum had 'criticised the concerned parties' for the mistake and will urge all departments to be more careful, it added.

The Sina Weibo posting had been forwarded more than 33,000 times and received about 15,000 comments as of yesterday. Most internet users were critical of the apology, saying the museum tried to pass the buck, and many users pointed out grammatical mistakes in the letter.

Nine golden art pieces, on loan from the Hong Kong-based Liangyi Museum, were stolen on May 8 from the Palace Museum. Six have been retrieved, municipal police said. Shi Baikui, a 28-year-old Shandong native, was arrested.


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