Great Wall Protection

Great Wall Protection is necessary and meanningful to the Chinese culture inheritance. There has been law on protection of the Great Wall, and we tourists can also do some things to contribute to the Great Wall conservation.

Current Condition of China Great Wall

In the last century, due to various environmental reasons and human activities, about one million square meters of land from Xinjiang to the Songneng Plains are changing from arable land into desert. This trend has extended past the Great Wall and spread to inside the passes. Also, large parts of the Great Wall’s wall, beacon towers and watchtowers had been damaged or destroyed by the carelessness of men.

While some portions near tourist centers have been preserved and even reconstructed, in many locations the Wall is in disrepair, serving as a playground for some villages and a source of stones to rebuild houses and roads. Sections of the Wall are also prone to graffiti. Parts have been destroyed because the Wall is in the way of construction sites. Intact or repaired portions of the Wall near developed tourist areas are often plagued with hawkers of tourist kitsch. 

Roadways have been cut through the Wall at several points, and vast sections have suffered centuries of neglect. In the 1970s a segment near Simatai (68 miles [110 km] northeast of Beijing) was dismantled for building materials, but it was subsequently rebuilt. Other areas have also been restored, including just northwest of Jiayu Pass at the western limit of the wall; at Huangya Pass, some 105 miles (170 km) north of Tianjin; and at Mutianyu, about 55 miles (90 km) northeast of Beijing. The best-known section, at Badaling (43 miles [70 km] northwest of Beijing), was rebuilt in the late 1950s; it now attracts thousands of national and foreign tourists every day. Portions of the wall around Shanhai Pass and at Mount Hu, the eastern terminus, also had been rebuilt by 2000.

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Difficulties in Protecting the Wall

The Great Wall, owing to its huge bulk, long length and variant construction materials, is difficult to protect well compared to other relics which can be kept in museums. Besides natural disasters such as storms and earthquakes, the wall also suffers from human sabotage. There are four primary types of man-made sabotages. The first is the taking of bricks, earth and stones from the wall for constructional materials. The second is modern construction (such as the highway building) that develops at the price of damaging the wall. The third is damage caused by tourism access development. With the goal of high tourism income, people innocently repair the wall according to their own imagination without concern for its historical appearance, this is also considered a kind of damage. In addition, increasing number of tourists also cause man-made sabotages.

Measure Taken for Great Wall Protection

Both human activities and natural influences can cause irreparable damage to the Great Wall, and we individuals also have the responsibility to protect the Wall as the government does. To preserve this architectural wonder and cultural heritage, many people suggest that China publicize the rich history of the Great Wall to the world and enact laws to protect it. In September of 2006, the State Council promulgated the regulation on the protection of the Great Wall which went into effect on December 1 of the same year.

Measures Taken by the Chinese Government to Protect the Great Wall

  • Enact laws to protect the wall from further damage by men.
  • Provide funds to be used for wall protection and preservation. 
  • Urge the public to protect and improve the environment so as to reduce acid rain, which is crucial to the conservation of the Great Wall.
  • Raise the awareness of the nearby residents to protect the Wall.
  • Strengthen the implementation of the regulations to protect the Great Wall by publicity of the cultural significance of the Wall. 

What Individuals Can Do to Protect the Great Wall

Being one of the world cultural and natural heritages, the Great Wall of China, belongs to the world, so everyone has the responsibility to protect it. Here below are what we can do for the conservation of the Wall:

  • Visitors should behave themselves on the wall, never defacing the bricks, never moving the bricks and never throwing litter about.
  • People who live near the wall should not take bricks, stones and earth from the wall to build their own houses, or dig in the wall for sheepfolds or latrines. 
  • Planting trees is good to the environmental degradation, which will also protect the Great Wall from storms and rain.
  • Obey the “Regulations on the protection of the Great Wall” and contribute more by sharing information about significance of Great Wall protection to others.

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