The Great Wall is No Longer Great

December 24, 2005 12:00 am Last Updated: December 24, 2005 12:00 am

TAIPEI- According to Wenweipo, a Hong Kong based newspaper, an investigation conducted by the China Great Wall Association showed that the Great Wall is suffering from serious disintegration. The investigation sampled over 100 locations on the Great Wall. Of the section built during the Ming Dynasty, for instance, less than 20% is in good shape. The report says, “The Great Wall is no longer great.”

The investigation also found that in the section of the Great Wall built during the Ming Dynasty, less than 30% is visible. The total length of the remains is less than 2,500 km (~1,550 miles).

Meanwhile, the Great Wall is suffering from various degrees of destruction – most seriously from deliberate carving. The China Great Wall Association points out that the Great Wall has become “disfigured” by carving, and in some sections, “there is evidence of carving on every brick.”

In principle, the maintenance of the Great Wall is carried out by the Department of Cultural Heritage in China, says the Head of the Chinese Great Wall Protection Association. However, the maintenance of cultural relics has been gradually turned over to various tourism departments due to the rapid development of tourism in the past 20 years and, subsequently, to the private sector. The lack of clear division of responsibility between the three parties is the main reason for the ineffective protection of the Great Wall.

The report quotes the Director of the Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage, May Ninghua, as saying, “The cultural heritage will be destroyed in our hands if we do not immediately take action.”