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What is the current situation of the Great Wall of China?

The Great Wall of China is the proud of Chinese people with a history of more than 2,000 years. From the 3rd century BC to the 17th century, The Great Wall was built and rebuilt continuously as the great military defence project of successive Chinese Empires, with a total length of more than 20,000 kilometers.It is a giant dragon in Chinese people’s eyes. However, oversea visitors may not think so, since now, the Great Wall is just broken stones or bricks lying on the mountains, deserts and grassland. It dose not looks like a dragon any more.
badaling great wall near beijing

The Condition of the Great Wall Today

It is true to say that while parts of the wall north of Beijing and near tourist centers have been preserved and in some cases even extensively renovated, in many other locations the Wall is in a state of disrepair. Some of those parts might serve as parts of villages that have grown up around the wall area, and perhaps even become a source of stones to rebuild houses and roads. Along with this, some sections of the Wall have been also prone to damage, graffiti and vandalism, and many inscribed bricks have been stolen and sold. Various other parts have been destroyed because the Wall is in the way of construction.

In 2012, a report by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage stated that 22% of the Ming Great Wall has disappeared, and up to 1,961 km (1,219 miles) of wall have vanished completely. There are several reasons for the broken walls which can be mainly divided into to nature influence such as
weathering and erosion and human activites such as bricks stealing and tourists graffiti.

Nature Influences on the Great Wall


Different from other cultural relics which are kept in museums, the Great Wall can not be protect in rooms. It is difficult to take care of the Great Wall. Almost sections of the walls are being left where they were and some sections which locate near desert on the border have already been swallowed by flowing sand. For example, near Maowusu Desert and Tenggeli Desert, walls here have disappeared forever. Sections in Gansu, Ningxia, Shaanxi and Shanxi Province have almost been rammed-earth construction. These sections can be brushed away by the perennial affect of rain and wind easily. Lots of sections of the Great Wall can not be recognized without professional experts’ instruction. The sections in Tianjing, Hebei and Beijing are preserved better than other sections, but under the countless winds and rains’ affects, these walls are also collapsing day by day.

Weathering and Erosion on the Great Wall

Because of local weather and climate conditions it is estimated that perhaps more than 60 km (37 miles) of the wall in Gansu province may disappear in the next 20 years, due to erosion from sandstorms.
Due to this erosion, in some places, the height of the wall has been reduced from more than 5 m (16 ft 5 in) to less than 2 m (6 ft 7 in). Adding to these problems various square lookout towers that are famous for characterizing the most famous images of the wall have disappeared.

One problem is that many western sections of the wall are constructed from mud, rather than brick and stone, and because of this they are much more susceptible to erosion. There are also problems with re-construction - in 2014 a portion of the wall near the border of Liaoning and Hebei province was repaired in a poor fashion with concrete. The work has been much criticized.

Human Damages on the Great Wall

In addition of the natural weathering, human activity is another reason for the damage of the Great Wall. It is not surprising to see that local people take bricks, limes or stones from the Great Wall to build their houses. And also common to find that farmers near by dig the wall to built their toilet or sheepfold. And many walls are destroyed because people want to build a highway through the walls. Apart from this, various graffiti from tourists all over the world with different languages are quite prevalent on the most densed tour sections of the great wall.

Regulation on Protection of Great Wall


For protecting the Great Wall, in Sep. of 2006, Chinese State Council promulgated the Regulation on Protection of Great Wall. The Great Wall came to its new page since then. The Regulation regulates people’s behavior to the Great Wall. It brings hopes for the wall to survive. All Chinese people and oversea friends must work together to protect the Great Wall, handing on the brilliant history generation by generation.
 
Learn more about the Great Wall Protections and Regulations, dos & don’ts on the great wall by click here.

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