Two individuals have been arrested in northern China after they allegedly damaged a section of the Great Wall using an excavator to create a huge gap in the ancient structure, local police said in an online statement.
A 38-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman, who were construction workers, were supposedly trying to create a shortcut in order to save time going around the world. The police stated that the structure was “severely damaged.”
“It had been one of the existing complete border walls and beacon towers with important protection and research value,” the county police department said.
China’s northwest Youyu County police responded to reports on August 24th of a gap that had been dug into the structure known as the 32nd Great Wall, a section that’s been standing since the Ming Dynasty.
“Excavators were used to excavate the original gap of the ancient Great Wall into a large gap, so that the excavator could pass through the gap, which caused irreversible damage to the integrity of the Ming Great Wall and the safety of cultural relics,” the police statement said.
The authorities detained the two suspects pending further investigation. The oldest portions of the Great Wall were created more than 2,000 years ago.
The structure is also listed as an UNESCO World Heritage site and is known as one of the greatest creations of ancient human engineering.
About 30% of China’s Great Wall has disappeared in recent years due to climate challenges and “reckless human activities,” including stealing bricks to build houses. This damage has eroded the already old structure, causing long term damage.
The investigation regarding the two construction workers is currently underway, ideally, this news will deter future individuals and groups from messing with the Great Wall and maintain its beauty that makes it such a historical landmark in our world’s story.
To avoid damage to the Great Wall, in recent years authorities have implemented multiple measures to deter individuals from damaging the structure.
For example, in April 2020 the Badaling Great Wall tourism site near the capital city of Beijing implemented new regulations that allows them to blacklist tourists and give them administrative penalties depending on their specific infraction.
In May 2021, two foreign tourists were banned from the Great Wall after ignoring a “no crossing sign” on an undeveloped section of the monument and climbing onto the restricted area, according to reports. In August, another tourist was detained and fined for using a hairpin to carve on the wall.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.