Shortcut through The Great Wall of China
In a shocking incident that has left preservationists and tourists worldwide aghast, two individuals have been arrested for their alleged role in the destruction of a portion of the iconic Great Wall of China. According to CNBC, this act of vandalism took place in Shanxi province, and it appears that the individuals sought to create a shortcut by using heavy machinery to remove a section of this ancient wonder.
The perpetrators, identified as a 38-year-old man named Zheng and a 55-year-old woman named Wang, reportedly utilised an excavator to widen an existing gap within the wall to facilitate the passage of their heavy equipment. According to an official notice issued by Youyu County security officials, their motivation for this reckless act was to “shorten a journey.”
What’s most astonishing about this incident is the swiftness with which it was resolved. Authorities learned of the damage on the afternoon of August 24th, and an immediate investigation was launched. Astonishingly, the investigation concluded on the same day, with officials swiftly locating Zheng and Wang at the scene with the excavator.
The damage caused by the duo is particularly distressing, as it occurred in an area of the Great Wall constructed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). This section of the wall is renowned for its relatively well-preserved side walls and beacon towers. While various parts of the Great Wall have suffered from neglect and disrepair over the centuries, the Ming Dynasty sections are often considered among the best-preserved and are prominently featured in photographs and travel brochures.
The Great Wall of China as World Heritage Site
The Great Wall of China, stretching approximately 5,500 miles in total, holds immense historical and cultural significance. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, further underscoring its global importance.
This regrettable incident adds to a growing list of high-profile incidents involving damage to world-famous tourist sites during the summer months. Earlier this year, a tourist in Rome was caught on camera using a key to carve into the ancient Colosseum. In a similar vein, a Swiss teenager attempted to deface the Colosseum, a French tourist confessed to carving initials into the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and a Canadian teen left his mark on Japan’s Toshodaiji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to 759.
These incidents serve as stark reminders of the need for responsible tourism and the preservation of our shared cultural heritage. The authorities’ swift response in the case of the Great Wall vandals underscores the importance of protecting these irreplaceable treasures for future generations.