China’s Great Wall is dis­ap­pear­ing: re­port

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Around 30 per­cent of China’s Ming-era Great Wall has dis­ap­peared over time as ad­verse nat­u­ral con­di­tions and reck­less hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties — in­clud­ing steal­ing the bricks to build houses — erode the UNESCO World Her­itage site, media re­ported.

The Great Wall is not a sin­gle un­bro­ken struc­ture but stretches for thou­sands of kilo­me­ters in sec­tions, from Shan­haiguan on the east coast to Jiayuguan in the windswept sands on the edge of the Gobi desert.

In places it is so di­lap­i­dated that es­ti­mates of its to­tal length vary from 9,000 to 21,000 kilo­me­ters (5,600 to 13,000 miles), depend­ing on whether miss­ing sec­tions are in­cluded. De­spite its length it is not, as is some­times claimed, vis­i­ble from space.

Con­struc­tion first be­gun in the third cen­tury B. C., but nearly 6,300 kilo­me­ters were built in the Ming Dy­nasty of 1368-1644, in­clud­ing the much-vis­ited sec­tors north of the cap­i­tal Bei­jing.

Of that, 1,962 kilo­me­ters have melted away over the cen­turies, the Bei­jing Times re­ported.

Some of the con­struc­tion weath­ered away, while plants grow­ing in the walls have ac­cel­er­ated the de­cay, said the re­port Sun­day, cit­ing a sur­vey last year by the Great Wall of China So­ci­ety.

“Even though some of the walls are built of bricks and stones, they can­not with­stand the peren­nial ex­po­sure to wind and rain,” the pa­per quoted Dong Yaohui, a vice pres­i­dent of the so­ci­ety, as say­ing.

“Many tow­ers are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly shaky and may col­lapse in a sin­gle rain storm in sum­mer.”

Tourism and lo­cal res­i­dents’ ac­tiv­i­ties are also dam­ag­ing the long­est hu­man con­struc­tion in the world, the pa­per added.

Poor vil­lagers in Lu­long county in the north­ern province of He­bei used to knock thick grey bricks from a sec­tion of wall in their vil­lage to build homes, and slabs en­graved with Chi­nese char­ac­ters were sold for 30 yuan (US$4.80) each by lo­cal res­i­dents, it said.

Reg­u­la­tions state peo­ple who take bricks from the Great Wall can be fined up to 5,000 yuan, the state-run Global Times said Mon­day.

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