What do we forbid in America? Same as they do in China: emperors.
But in pre-Mao China, the rules were different, and the word “forbidden” meant something slightly different as well. In fact, it meant you needed the emperor’s permission.
The Forbidden City, built in the 1400s in downtown Beijing, housed 24 Chinese emperors over 500 years, although “housed” would strike any visitor as a feeble, utterly helpless verb in the face of these surroundings.