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Last Updated: Monday, 24 September 2007, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK
Forbidden City Starbucks replaced
New cafe in Forbidden City, Beijing  - 24/09/07
The new cafe offers more traditional Chinese fare
A traditional Chinese cafe has opened up in Beijing's Forbidden City, replacing a Starbucks coffee shop that was forced to shut after protests.

The new cafe will serve both coffee and traditional Chinese tea, China's state media said.

The Starbucks outlet was forced to close in July, having long been accused of tarnishing the historical site.

The shop, which opened in 2000, sought to quell the protests two years ago by removing its distinctive signage.

But the move failed to satisfy its critics. An online campaign earlier this year led by a state television personality drew more than 500,000 signatures.

Top attraction

State media said the Forbidden City Cafe would be run by officials in charge of the site, and would feature traditional Chinese wooden furniture and paintings as well as beverages.

"We want to provide tourists with a package of products relating to the Imperial Palace and Chinese culture," Li Wenru, deputy curator of the Forbidden City, was quoted as saying.

Starbucks coffee shop in Beijing's Forbidden City
Starbucks was accused of trampling on Chinese culture

The Forbidden City was built in 1420 and was home to 24 emperors until the end of imperial rule in 1911.

It attracted nearly nine million visitors last year, is China's top tourist attraction and a Unesco World Heritage site.

TV anchor Rui Chenggang, who led the campaign to shut down Starbucks, said its presence "undermined the solemnity of the Forbidden City and trampled on Chinese culture".

Seattle-based Starbucks had been told it could stay open if it sold other brands, but declined and said the decision had been "very congenial".

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