Naked photography at China’s forbidden city is most definitely forbidden.

Earlier this month there were several articles, following on from a story in the South China Morning Post, about a scantily-clad or naked model photographed amid the tourists at the former imperial palace in the centre of China’s capital.

The model posing for the photographer. Photo:

One of the photographs, posted by the photographer Wang Dong on his social media account, showed the woman leaning on a handrail in front of a hall with crowds of tourists nearby. The photographer, also known as Wanimal, has been heavily criticised on social media for carrying out a photo shoot of a near-naked model in the Forbidden City, the former imperial palace in the centre of Beijing, according to newspaper report.

Many internet users said the shoot was shameless and had profaned historical relics after a number of pictures showing the naked woman posing in front of white marble handrails and sitting on the head of a marble dragon circulated on the internet, The Beijing News reported.



The photos above are from wanimal’s website,

Construction of the Forbidden City began in the 1400s and the former palace is one of China’s biggest tourist attractions.

Officials at the Forbidden City, now known as the Palace Museum, have recently stated in a press conference on Tuesday, that it had completed its “investigation” of the incident.

It seems that investigators were quite thorough. Shan Jixiang, director of the Palace Museum at the Forbidden City, told the press the museum collected evidence from 20 sets of cameras completely exposing the perverted photographer’s plot: From buying tickets, to getting naked, to taking photos.

“We very much welcome artists from all over the world to make artistic creations,” Shan said. “But the indecent photo shoots not only go against social morality, order and good customs, but also harm the relics and the dignity of the cultural heritage. This should be condemned by all society.”

According to People’s Daily, China’s public security law stipulates that those who “molest others or purposefully appear naked in public” may be subject to five to ten days in jail.

This seems quite harsh and as the artist himself pointed out, there were no complaints about the photoshoot from tourists, as nobody witnessed the photography taking place.

The funny thing is, none of this made news until the images were posted online and the world became appalled.  According to Mr. Dong, he and the others involved were not disturbing anyone, and nobody could see what they were doing in.  “I was just getting on with my work and did not affect anyone else.”

In fact, no tourists lodged any complaints, so it’s hard to imagine that any decency laws were technically violated.  Even The Mirror, who previously reported on the incident, states, “As no-one complained about his actions it is unlikely that any further action will be taken because it cannot be counted as a public disturbance.” however, it now seems that their predictions were probably wrong.

Defending his work, Dong explains that some people simply “do not understand expression” and that nudity in art is no new invention.  While some are outraged by the fact that he shot nude at this place, some followers are using his tumbler to send him encouraging messages. It seems very unfortunate that officials in China seem to be becoming increasingly intolerant of public nudity, while there does seem to be a lingering public interest in nude art and nudism. Yet currently there seems to be little prospect for nudism in China.

About Colin H

Ancient historian specialising in Greco-Roman siegecraft who also does 11th century reenactment. I am also a keen dancer and a nudist.
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2 Responses to Naked photography at China’s forbidden city is most definitely forbidden.

  1. Megan Scott says:

    What is her name?

  2. jochanaan1 says:

    The relics do not appear to have suffered from being “profaned.” 🙂

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