Two people have been detained in north China for allegedly damaging part of the Great Wall with an excavator. According to local authorities, a man and woman in Shanxi province were attempting to create a shortcut through the landmark to their nearby construction site.
The two allegedly expanded an already existing opening into a wide gap, large enough to get their excavator through. Their reasoning was to save on travel distance to get the excavator to the worksite. This has caused irreversible damage to the section’s integrity and safety. Police in Yuyou county detained the two, and the case in still under investigation.
The Great Wall of China, one of the 8 Wonders of the World, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been since 1987. The wall was a key northern defense for China’s ancient dynasties, with sections dating back to BC times. A lot of the wall’s more stable structuring was completed in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Sadly over the years an estimated 1/3rd of the monument has fallen into irreparable ruin.
We have a lot of questions that could have been prevented with just a little bit of common sense. To actively choose partially destroying a cultural monument, for the purpose of a shortcut, is ridiculous. I mean, did they not have a map indicating the direction they were heading went right through the Wall? Did they think there would be no consequences for this?
In recent years Chinese authorities have increased their protection of the cultural monument and cracked down on vandalism. In 2021, three visitors were detained and fined for defacing the Badaling section with a sharp object. Later that same year, two foreign tourist were banned from the Great Wall after trespassing onto an underdeveloped portion of the Mutianyu section.