Great Wall’s re­pairs are an up­hill task

Shanghai Daily - - NATION - (Xin­hua)

AS the first ray of sun­shine reaches Dong­gou Vil­lage in Bei­jing’s Miyun Dis­trict, Yang Cheng­hai and his fel­low vil­lagers walk be­hind 14 mules, each laden with bricks, and make their way up a hill­side sec­tion of the Great Wall.

Since the start of this year, the ren­o­va­tion of a 1,000-me­ter sec­tion of the Great Wall in the north of Yang’s vil­lage has started. Be­cause of steep moun­tain paths, an­i­mals are the only way to carry bricks to the top. A mule can only carry 12 bricks at a time, each weigh­ing 10 kilo­grams.

Zheng Baoy­ong, head of the her­itage man­age­ment of­fice of Miyun Dis­trict, said that Miyun is home to one-third of Bei­jing’s Great Wall sec­tions. Due to hu­man de­struc­tion and nat­u­ral weath­er­ing, some parts of the Great Wall are dam­aged or have col­lapsed, and they are in ur­gent need of ren­o­va­tion.

Re­pairs are dif­fi­cult to com­plete, tak­ing large amounts of man­ual la­bor and fund­ing. Work­ers have to carry the bricks by hand when a mule fails to climb some of the steep­est moun­tain­sides.

“It is a very dif­fi­cult and dan­ger­ous project. We have around 50 work­ers now. Ev­ery day, they start their work at 5:30am and do not stop un­til dark. It is hard to hire work­ers,” said Zhang Baoru, who is in charge of the ren­o­va­tion project.

Yang and his mules trans­port bricks more than 10 times each day.

“It is very hard, but I know it is a good thing to do,” he said, let­ting the mules graze for a while be­fore they go down­hill to pick up more bricks.

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