A Chinese museum in the northern province of Hebei was forced to close down after authorities said most of its collections were fake.
The museum, curated by a local Communist Party official, had boasted an extensive collection worth 50 million-yuan ($8.1 million), including artifacts engraved with writing from 4,000 years ago, during the Yellow Emperor’s reign.
But the purportedly unique cultural gems lining the Jibaozhai museum were in fact knock-offs. A series of discrepancies were found, spurring questions on the items’ authenticity.
Local residents in the nearby village of Erpu had long argued that party boss Wang Zongquan bought fake items with money raised for the museum, the Global Times reported.
“Jibaozhai has no qualification to be a museum as its collections are fake and it hasn’t reported to my department for approval,” said an official from the Hebei cultural heritage bureau.
Museum staff played down the scandal.
Shao Baoming, the deputy curator, said “at least half of the exhibits” were authentic, Shanghai Daily reported.