SMA NEWS – BEIJING
A part of China’s Great Wall has been severely damaged by construction workers in central Shanxi province, who used an excavator to dig through it.
Police say two people are suspected of trying to create a shortcut for their construction work.
The two have been detained and the case is under further investigation.
The 38-year-old man and 55-year-old woman were working near the affected area, the 32nd Great Wall.
They dug a “big gap” by widening an existing cavity of the Great Wall so that their excavator could pass through it. Police say they wanted to reduce the distance they had to travel.
It also stressed that the two have caused “irreversible damage to the integrity of the Ming Great Wall and to the safety of the cultural relics”.
Located in Youyu county, the 32nd Great Wall is a section of the Ming Great Wall and is categorised as a historical and cultural site which is protected at the provincial level.
Officers were alerted to the damage on 24 August after receiving reports that there was a huge gap in the wall.
The Great Wall, a Unesco world heritage site since 1987, was built and rebuilt on a continual basis from around 220 BC until the Ming Dynasty in the 1600s, when it was the world’s largest military structure.
While the better-known parts of the Great Wall consist of beautifully built structures dotted with ancient watchtowers, other parts of the structure are crumbling or have disappeared altogether.
Much of what visitors see today was constructed during the Ming Dynasty, which is referred to as the Ming Great Wall.
Some stretches of the wall have been damaged or demolished over the years, especially in remote rural areas. A 2016 report from newspaper Beijing Times suggested more than 30% of the Ming Great Wall has disappeared entirely, with only 8% of it considered well preserved.