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As Great Wall vanishes, restoration is vital

Updated: 2015-10-12 15:31:39

( Chinaculture.org )

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The Great Wall is collapsing and vanishing. [Photo/ China Youth News]

The Great Wall is vanishing, with less than 10% of the total stretch of more than 20,000 kilometers remaining in good condition, according to a report unveiled by China Youth News on Oct 9.

Badly damaged

The current concept of the Great Wall refers to the sections built during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 AD). According to official statistics released in 2012 by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, this area totals 21,196 kilometers, with more than 90% of the wall badly damaged. Apart from the popular tourist centers, such as Badaling in Beijing and Shanhaiguan in Qinhuangdao, most of the giant fortification is under the threat of vanishing.

"Without protection funding, we just cannot stop it from collapsing," said Li Dingyuan, curator of the Huailai County Museum in Zhangjiakou city, Heibei province. "When I inspected the Great Wall in 1982, the section here in Chenjiabao town (in Huailai county) was in good condition. But now several parts are gone."

A section of the Great Wall in Huailai country was once called "standard Great Wall", due to its high level of quality construction. At the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, this section was set as an example for further construction. However, the 3,000 meters stretch of the wall has almost vanished, with only a little platform left.

The Great Wall suffered a series of factitious 'disasters' over the years, Li said. Before the 1980s, poverty-stricken people in villages often tore down edifices to use the bricks to build their own houses. After the country's reform and opening-up, new tourism trends brought further damage to the sites.

Gradually, damage was stopped after the release of Great Wall Protection Regulations by the State Council in 2006. However, money to maintain the wall remains another problem.

"Three to five spots are breaking down every year, but we don't have money (to fix it). We haven't received funds from any institution Meanwhile, economic development in the region put further pressure on cultural heritage protection. Before the regulations were issued, parts of the Great Wall were often destroyed and gave way to infrastructure construction, such as highways, according to Zhang Yimeng, deputy director of the Archaeology Institution of Zhang Jiakou city.

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