China’s Great Wall has stood for centuries, through war and upheaval — but one section of the vast structure was seemingly no match for two workers seeking a shortcut.
A part of the wall in northern China has been severely damaged by a pair of construction workers using an excavator, local authorities said.
The two suspects, a 38-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman, were detained, according to the police department in Youyu County in the northern province of Shanxi. They widened an existing cavity in the wall, digging a “large gap” to allow their excavator through as a shortcut for work nearby, police said in a statement Thursday.
Police said they caused “irreversible damage” to the integrity and safety of the cultural relic.
Authorities received a report about the alleged damage on Aug. 24, and the case is still under investigation, police said.
The damaged section of the Great Wall, a provincial cultural relic site, belongs to the 32nd Great Wall established in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
It had been one of the existing complete border walls and beacon towers with important protection and research value, the county police department said.
The Great Wall has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1987. It was built starting in 220 B.C., when China had its first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, and it was rebuilt at various periods, according to UNESCO.
The wall seen by most tourists was built in the Ming Dynasty; it is also known as the Ming Great Wall.
But in recent years, some parts of the wall have been demolished. About 30% of the Ming Great Wall has disappeared, the state-run Beijing Times reported in 2016.
That has led the Chinese government to step up efforts to preserve and protect the ancient structure.
In April 2020, the Badaling Great Wall tourism site near the capital city, Beijing, introduced new regulations that would allow it to blacklist tourists without “disciplinary behaviors” and give them administrative penalties.
In May 2021, two foreign tourists were banned from the Great Wall after they ignored the “no crossing sign” and climbing onto an undeveloped section.
In August, a tourist was detained and fined for carving on the wall with a hairpin.
Source : NBC News