Hongji Landbridge Investment Development Inc., a construction firm in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, was slapped with a 500,000 yuan (US$63,776) fine for deliberately damaging the Great Wall, according to the local cultural heritage protection bureau. The company began building a highway through a section of the Great Wall in Ulanqab City in March without government approval.
Cultural heritage protection officials revealed the company refused to halt construction even after warnings and suggestions that they change the course, excavate channels, or set up viaducts.
Wang Dafang, an official with the regional cultural heritage bureau, said this blithe and reckless construction led to the demolition of large sections of the Great Wall as well as three ancient villages under government protection.
The bureau issued the fine Oct. 20 according to cultural heritage protection laws on, Wang added.
The Great Wall stretches more than 6,700 kilometers from west to northeast China. Dating back to the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), its separate sections were first built in scattered strategic areas to defend against invasion by northern nomadic tribes.
Experts said the Wall has suffered extensive natural and human damage in recent years with only 30 percent of the Wall built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) still standing.
China's first regulation on the protection of the Great Wall, which came into effect on Friday, prohibits the removal of soil or bricks from the Wall, planting trees, carving on the wall or building any structure not protecting it.
The use of motor vehicles on the marvel is also prohibited as well as the unauthorized organization of activities open to tourists.
Those who violate the regulations can be fined 10,000 to 50,000 yuan (US$1,276 to 6,378) while institutions can be fined 50,000 yuan to 500,000 yuan (US$6,378 to 63,776).
(Xinhua News Agency December 4, 2006)