Why a third of China’s Great Wall has disappeared

Chinese Culture

Great Wall Great Wall of China. Jim Spellman / CCTV America

Centuries of environmental wear, various wars, re-purposing of the bricks for homes, and making way for new roads and farmland have taken their toll on the Great Wall. It exists in sections, with erosion and human damage so bad in places that an estimated 30 percent of the wall’s 13,000 miles has disappeared.

Of what remains, only a sliver — about 8 percent — is in good condition.

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Outside of a handful of heavily visited sections, there’s the so-called wild wall – underdeveloped, unprotected, and increasingly visited. Some of the ancient bricks can be found being sold in black markets for as low as 30 yuan, about $5.

Dong Yaohui of the China Great Wall Society said more needs to be done to protect the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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The Great Wall. CCTVNews.

“China’s Great Wall is great for two reasons. One is its long history, the other is its long geographical span. Our ancestors created this wonder for us, and we only pass on to future generations a handful of sections? That’s not right,” he said.

No official plans have been implemented to curb the wall’s deterioration, but Dong said a good start would be to recruit local villagers who wish to see the Great Wall stay great for generations to come.

Before & After Slide Picture of the Great Wall. Courtesy: Chinagreatwall.org

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CCTV’s Tao Yuan filed this report from the Beijing-Hebei border.

One third of China's Great Wall is reportedly missing

Anyone who has visited the Great Wall of China remembers the structure as awe-inspiring, but there are parts of the structure that few ordinary visitors have seen and would imagine exist. Reports show the majority of the UNESCO world heritage site is in dire condition. Originally built to defend an empire, the Great Wall now needs someone to leap to its defense.


Victor Gao on China’s disappearing Great Wall
For more on the concern over the Great Wall of China’s, CCTV’s Mike Walter spoke with Victor Gao from Beijing about preserving the historical site.

Victor Gao on China’s disappearing Great Wall

For more on the concern over the Great Wall of China’s, CCTV’s Mike Walter spoke with Victor Gao from Beijing about preserving the historical site.