Great Wall Repair Sparks Outrage
Chinese officials are drawing criticism for a restoration project that experts say went “very badly.”
A 700-year-old section of China’s Great Wall, a UNESCO world heritage site, was reportedly covered in sand, lime and concrete under orders from Suizhong County’s Cultural Relics Bureau.
While the project was carried out in 2014, it only came to light this month when photos of the ancient wall-turned-concrete path were posted on Chinese social media sites, reports said.
A leader with Great Wall of China Society, Dong Yaohui, denounced the local leaders, telling media outlets that the restoration work was “basic and crude” and had been done “very badly.”
“It damaged the original look of the Great Wall and took away the history from the people.”
“Although the local government was well intentioned and wanted to restore the bricks of the wall,” he added, “the result turned to be the opposite.”
Officials from the office responsible for the repairs said they had received all necessary approvals for the project and said the process was reasonable and legitimate.
Meanwhile, China's Liaoning Province Department of Culture will reportedly send experts to investigate the project.
The Great Wall
The ancient stone wall is the world’s largest man-made structure, built and rebuilt on a continual basis from around 220 BC until the Ming Dynasty in the 1600s.
The wall was designed to protect the Chinese empire from northern invasions and once spanned 12,400 miles, reports relate.
Many parts of the wall are crumbling and some sections have been demolished over the years.
The Chinese government has specific regulations concerning preservation of the Great Wall and those found guilty of damaging a cultural relic could face up to 10 years in prison, reports indicate.
In August, a state-supervised body, the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation, launched a crowd-funding campaign to restore some of the most damaged sections of the wall. The campaign has raised 870,647 Yuan ($130,482 USD) thus far.