Police in north China have arrested four people allegedly
involved in an illegal mining operation that destroyed a section of
the Great Wall.
The alleged ringleader of the gang, a 40-year-old man with the
surname Wang, allegedly claimed that they destroyed part of the
Great Wall with mining machines over a weeklong period in middle
An investigation by the local cultural relics bureau found a
section of the Wall 10 meter high and 23 meters long had been
destroyed at Luliang Mountain, Qingshuihe County, Inner Mongolia
The section had totally collapsed and a 1,000-square-meter
protection area around the Wall has also been damaged, the bureau
The part of Great Wall, originally built in the Han Dynasty (206
B.C.- 220 A.D.) and rebuilt in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), is on
the main trunk of the Wall, which runs from the Shanhaiguan Pass in
north China's Hebei Province westward to Gansu's Jiayuguan
"This section of Great Wall was made of mud rather than brick
and stone and is more prone to erosion or damage from human
activities," said Wang Dashan, a regional cultural protection
The Great Wall, which was listed as the United Nations World
Heritage Site in 1987, was first built in the Warring States Period
(475-221 B.C.) to defend China against invasion by northern nomadic
tribes. It was rebuilt and extended many times through history and
earlier records indicated it stretched about 6,000 kilometers.
Like any other architectural site in the world, the Great Wall
is at risk of damage caused by natural and human activities. In
some sections, its bricks and dirt have even been used as
"Only a small portion of the Great Wall is under protection, and
about 90 percent of it, mostly in remote areas, lacks proper
protection," said Dong yaohui, deputy chairman of the China Great
In 2004, the Great Wall was listed as an endangered site by the
World Monuments Fund, a New York-based nonprofit organization on
preservation of cultural and architecture sites.
The State Council, or China's Cabinet, issued a regulation in
September last year banning vandalism and driving on the Great
Wall, taking soil or bricks, and building on it.
Meanwhile, China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage
(SACH) and State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM) are
carrying out a geographical survey of the Great Wall. Statistics
including its exact length and layout will be released in 2008.
(Xinhua News Agency November 8, 2007)