Eunuch's-eye-view of China's Forbidden City

A new virtual tour of Beijing's Forbidden City allows visitors to step into the silk slippers of an imperial eunuch for a behind-the-scenes virtual tour of the cultural treasure.

On the site. tourists can "watch the Qing dynasty emperor feast at dinner, train fighting crickets and feed them with blood-fattened mosquitoes, or practice archery with the help of a courtesan."

The eunuch is just one of the avatars available to those who visit the website, but one that allows the viewer close access to the imperial wives and courtesans. "You wouldn't have been able to just wander around like this," said Hu Chui, director of the Information Department, gesturing at a soldier avatar striding toward a central hall. "You would have been kowtowing and anyway, he is on the imperial pathway. You would get arrested for that."