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Is the Great Wall of China About to Fall Down?

'Many towers are becoming increasingly shaky and may collapse in a single rain storm in summer.' (Image: Pixabay/ CC0 Public Domain)
'Many towers are becoming increasingly shaky and may collapse in a single rain storm in summer.' (Image: Pixabay/ CC0 Public Domain)

China’s Ming-era Great Wall is slowly disappearing, with around 30 percent of it already gone. State media suggests that the UNESCO World Heritage site is disappearing because of adverse natural conditions and reckless human activities, such as people stealing the bricks to build houses.

The Great Wall has spots that are so damaged that the total length can vary from 5,600 to 13,000 miles, depending whether you count the missing sections.

The Great Wall is not visible from space as people sometimes claim, despite its length.

Tourists have also contributed to the deterioration of the famous wall.

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Some of the construction has just weathered away, while plants that are 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. “Many towers are becoming increasingly shaky and may collapse in a single rain storm in summer.”

In Lulong County in the northern province of Hebei, the poorer villagers have taken the thick grey bricks from the wall near their village to use to build houses. They have also taken parts that had Chinese characters to sell for 30 yuan ($4.80) each, it said.

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There are regulations and laws against the taking of the bricks, with fines up to 5,000 yuan ($805), but Jia Hailin, a cultural relics protection official in Hebei Province, said that they are rarely enforced.

“But there is no specific organisation to enforce the rules. Damage could only be reported to higher authorities, and it is hard to solve when it happened on the border of two provinces,” Hailin said, according to the report.

I have never seen it in person, but would love to. I guess I’d better be quick before it all falls down or disappears.

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