chinese tourist breaks great wall

New Law To Protect Great Wall From Vandalism

Vandal given ten days of jail, RMB 500 in fines

Days after video of a man vandalizing the Great Wall of China went viral, Chinese authorities have announced plans to crack down on anyone caught causing “criminal damage” to the cultural icon.

chinese tourist breaks great wall

The State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) will now conduct regular inspections and random checks of the wall across its perimeter in 15 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. SACH will also open a hotline for callers to report anyone they catch damaging the Great Wall.

A recent video shared on Chinese social media showed a 49 year-old Hubei man destroying a piece of the Great Wall of China. Zhu Shining eventually surrendered himself to police, and explained that he didn’t think the wall he was damaging was the “actual” Great Wall of China because it “looked so old”.

Even with this new campaign, irreversible damage has already been caused to the Great Wall of China.

great wall deterioration

An estimated 30 percent of a 6,200-km section of the wall built in the Ming Dynasty has disappeared. Only eight percent of this section remains in good condition.

The Great Wall has all but vanished in some areas. Originally totaling 1,500 kilometers in length, the size of the Great Wall diminished to just 800 kilometers in Ningxia Province in the 80s, and then 500 kilometers in the 90s. Today, just 300 kilometers of the Great Wall remains in Ningxia.

Aside from vandalism, Hubei villages have taken to selling off specially-inscribed bricks, while villagers in Lulong County take stones from the Great Wall and re-purpose them in new structures. Additionally, breaches in the wall have been made to accommodate local traffic.

At the same time, weather and the natural elements, notably sandstorms, have eroded much of the wall.

great wall deterioration

According to Vice-Chairperson of the National Great Wall Society, Dong Yaohui, it’s difficult to protect and preserve the Great Wall of China with limited resources. “In Funing County, there are only nine people in the department of cultural relics, but they have to go on a 143 kilometre inspection tour. It’s definitely impossible to take good care of the Great Wall by themselves,” Dong said.

A 2006 law introduced fines of up to $62,500 for anyone caught damaging the designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For his part in vandalizing the Great Wall of China, Zhu was sentenced to ten days administrative detention and issued a RMB 500 ($75) fine.

chinese tourist breaks great wall

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor