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Watch: Great Wall of China suffers ‘irreversible’ damage by workers with excavator, 2 arrested


A dirt road passing through a damaged section of the Great
Image Source : REUTERS A dirt road passing through a damaged section of the Great Wall of China, in Youyu County.

A portion of the famous Great Wall of China in the central Shanxi province suffered severe damage by a pair of construction workers, who allegedly used an excavator to dig a shortcut through the historical structure.

According to the police, a 38-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman were working near the 32nd Great Wall, when they used the excavator to create a shortcut for their construction work to “save time and distance”. The suspects have been detained for further questioning, reported Reuters.

The workers dug a “big gap” in the Great Wall, causing “irreversible damage to the integrity of the Ming Great Wall and to the safety of the cultural relics”. The portion of the Great Wall is located in Youyu county and is categorised as a historical and cultural site.

Police were alerted to this latest incident on August 24 after receiving reports that there was a huge gap in the wall. As the government has gone to greater lengths to preserve the Great Wall , the two suspects might get into a lot of trouble.

The Great Wall of China is one of the world’s most ancient architectural marvels spanning more than 13,000 miles, and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1987. It was built and rebuilt from around 200 BC till the Ming Dynasty in the 1600s. According to authorities, this portion of the wall is known for its “majestic and vast ancient frontier style” and has important protection and research value.

Decline of the Great Wall

China places an immense amount of pride in the historical structure that was revived by the Communist government as asymbol of patriotism, mass mobilisation and resistance to outside pressure. It has also remained a symbol of political strategic thinking and military might of the ancient Chinese.

However, vandalism of China’s Great Wall is not uncommon as several parts of the structure have crumbled or disappeared. A report in 2016 showed that over 30% of the Ming Great Wall has disappeared entirely and only 8% of it is considered well preserved. The oldest portions,of the structure now appear as mounds and are not even immediately recognisable as the Great Wall.

Furthermore, many locals have built private shrines into the wall, dug holes into it or used the structure for garden fences or sheep pens. Much of the degradation of the wall has been attributed to local farmers stealing bricks or stones to build houses or animal pens.

(with Reuters inputs)

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