China’s Great Wall is Disappearing


Around 30% of China’s Great Wall has disappeared according to an article published by The Beijing Times this year.

The article states that the wall has been in steady decline from it’s original figures posted by China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage in 2012.Around 30% of China's Great Wall has disappeared according to an article published by The Beijing Times this year.Credit: National Geographic

The report states that approximately 1,961 km of the UNESCO World Heritage Site has disappeared with another 1,185 km of the wall in poor condition.

Beijing Times reports the decline of the Great Wall is due to natural conditions and accidental and deliberate reckless human activities, and lack of protection.

The rainy season in Beijing and neighbouring province Hebei has led to the erosion of parts of the wall as well as the nature growing through the cracks.

Beijing Times spoke to Vice-President of the Great Wall of China Society Dong Yaohui about its conditions.

“Even though some of the walls are built of bricks and stones, they cannot withstand the perennial exposure to wind and rain. Many towers are becoming increasingly shaky and may collapse in a single rain storm in summer,” he told the paper.

Beijing Times reports the decline of the wall is due to natural conditions and accidental and deliberate reckless human activities, and lack of protection.Credit: Getty

Tourism and residential activity are also a main cause of damage as exploration of remote sections of the wall has increased and has illegal trade of stolen bricks.

Local villagers who live close to the wall have taken to collecting bricks that have caved Chinese characters and selling them illegally.

Further reports say that locals have stolen bricks to help supplement their own housing.

Although laws have been passed to prevent the defacement of the wall including hefty fines for stealing bricks, officials say they are hard to enforce.

Cultural Relics Protection Official Jia Hailin says although there are laws there’s no specific organisation to enforce the rules.

“Damage could only be reported to higher authorities and it is hard to solve when it happened on the border of two provinces,” she said.

After seeing news spread of the Great Wall’s decline, Chinese citizens turned to online forums to express concern.

“The wall is being destroyed by the hands of the descendants,” one person wrote on a Sina Weibo microblog.

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