Saturday, September 24, 2016

China investigates paved Great Wall section

Following media reports that a section of the Great Wall in northeast China had been paved, the state cultural heritage watchdog on Thursday said investigators have been sent to verify the reports and carry out an investigation.

The State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) said in a statement that it will publicly disclose results of the investigation in time, and if problems do exist, those responsible for the damage will be held accountable.

A post widely circulated online claimed that a Great Wall section not open to tourism in Suizhong County, Liaoning Province, had been defaced. The post featured photos of the Great Wall's paved-over surface, which appeared jarringly modern.

Media reports speculated it was a result of poor preservation techniques applied by local cultural heritage authorities.

According to a statement by SACH, the Great Wall section in Suizhong, built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), has long suffered from severe structural problems and was placed under a preservation project from 2013 to 2014.

Preservation plans were approved by SACH experts at the time, the statement said, adding the investigators who have been sent will evaluate the outcome of the preservation project and investigate the project management and supervision.

The Great Wall was built from the third century BC to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The existing sections are mainly the Ming wall, which stretches over 8,800 kilometers. Less than 10 percent of the wall is considered well-preserved.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of China's national regulation on Great Wall protection. The SACH has launched a special law enforcement campaign in 15 provincial-level regions where the wall is located.

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