Chinese tour guides lie about history in Beijing and everywhere they go

Tour guides who work at the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace and other Beijing tourist attractions listed as World Cultural Heritage sites, have been warned not to go off script while rendering services to visitors.

Image shows visitors at the Tianmen Square in Beijing.

A report from Beijing Youth Daily says it discovered that some tour guides at the sites are offering contradicting introductions while many of them seem to be ignorant of the sites’ recorded history.

There are tour guides who are incorporating rumors and hearsay in their explanations instead of relying on truth and actual facts, the report said.

A group of reporters visited the Forbidden City and other sites after a scheduled verification exercise which kicked off on September 16. Their findings proved that many tour guides offered short but different introductions in front of the Taihe Palace.

According to one of the tour guides: “When Yuan Shikai became the emperor, he intentionally pushed the throne chair 3 centimeters backward.”

Another guide said : “The emperor didn’t like to hold morning court.”

Other rumors in circulation at the site paid attention on “the gender of the stone lions in front of the palace, the throne ceremony and the emperors’ habits,” the report said.

For anyone to be offered employment at these tourist attractions, a written examination and oral interviews are to be conducted. But the investigations carried out on tour guides at the Forbidden City and other five famous places show those workers aren’t well versed in history.

To prove themselves knowledgeable before visitors as well as entertaining, most guides like to add some anecdotes which are unnecessary. Many of them make mistakes with their quotations, too.

Image shows a group of Chinese tourists.


Li Guang, director of Quality Supervising department of China Youth Travel Service, said tour guides must pass a national exam before they can be employed by travel agencies.

In truth, according to investigations, the approved historical material released to tour guides are said to filled with facts. There’s rarely enough to occupy and entertain visitors, so tour guides have to supplement the official information with interesting and funny stories–which are most times, off the books.

Funny as the lies have become, Chinese tour guides are now visiting Vietnam and spreading lies, too.

Temple of Heaven, one of the 'top 15 attractions in Beijing, China' by

Image shows Beijing’s Temple of Heaven.

According to a report from VNE Express: “Chinese tour guides tell visitors that Vietnam hates China and ask them not to listen to what Vietnamese tour guides say.

“Sometimes they use local dialects from Hangzhou, Chengdu, Guangdong or Nanjing so we can’t understand them, even though we know Chinese,” a Vietnamese tour guide told VnExpress.