When the Qing rulers took over Beijing, they just stayed in the former Imperial Palace but rebuilt and renovated most of the buildings. Some structures were newly built inside, and thus resumed the full vitality of the Imperial Palace. The Qing Emperors also paid strong attention to fire prevention. They built up fire walls in the Forbidden City, set up a fire brigade and had fire drills regularly; they also put fire-fighting equipments like water jars and water buckets in the Forbidden City, so the situation was much better than it was in the Ming Dynasty.
In the late Qing Dynasty, because of the corruption of the Qing Government, and the slack management of the Forbidden City, it once again fell into a declined and waned condition.
The Qing Dynasty was overthrown by the 1911 Revolution led by Dr.Sun-Yat-Sen (1866-1925). But according to the 19 articles of the preferential treatment for the Qing court, after 1911, the last emperor Pu Yi and his royal family were still allowed to live in the inner court of the Forbidden City. They spent another 13 years in the Forbidden City, until 1924, when they were driven out of the Palace.
Totally, there were 10 emperors in the Qing Dynasty who lived and conducted state affairs in the Forbidden City (from the first emperor Shun Zhi to the last emperor Pu Yi of the Qing Dynasty).
After 1924, the Republic Government set up a Check-up Committee for the historical relics in the Forbidden City. One year later, on October 10th 1925, the whole complex was converted into a museum and opened to the public.
In 1931, because of the Japanese War, there were 13,000 boxes containing the Forbidden City’s historical relics shipped to the southern part of China. In 1949, 2972 boxes, the best selection from those boxes, were shipped to Tai Wan.
After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, especially since 1952, our government spent a large amount of money on the renovation of the Forbidden City. We set up the drainage system inside the Forbidden City, installed the lightning arresters on the buildings and also made the fire-resistant pipelines there as well as setting up a professional fire brigade for fire prevention.
In 1961, the Palace Museum was listed as one of the important historical monuments under special preservation by the Chinese Government, and in 1987, it was listed as a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO.
Now, the Palace Museum holds a great number of historical and cultural relics as well as precious works of art. Therefore, it is the largest museum of culture and art in China and one of the famous museums in the world. The Palace Museum is of great value for scientific research as well as for the tourism industry. It has already become a famous tourist attraction, and every day there are thousands and thousands of tourists coming to visit the Forbidden City.
The Forbidden City is the best-preserved imperial palace in China and the largest ancient palatial structure in the world. It is the largest piece of ancient Chinese architecture still in existence today.