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'Irreversible damage': Great Wall of China damaged by workers looking for shortcut; two arrested

Two workers arrested for damaging an iconic section of the Great Wall of China while attempting to create a shortcut, causing irreversible harm to the Ming-era wall of significant historical value.

Irreversible damage Great Wall of China damaged by workers looking for shortcut; two arrested snt
First Published Sep 5, 2023, 9:21 PM IST

Spanning the vast expanse of northern China like a colossal dragon's spine, the Great Wall of China stands as an enduring symbol of human ingenuity and history. This awe-inspiring architectural marvel, built over centuries and dynasties, not only served as a formidable defense against invading forces but also represents China's rich cultural heritage.

However, this iconic symbol of China's legacy suffered damage recently when two individuals, operating an excavator, decided to create a shortcut through its ancient stones. The incident, which occurred in the northern province of Shanxi, led to the arrest of a 38-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman. Their actions were reported to the police on August 24.

The motive behind their ill-fated decision was to widen an existing cavity, thereby reducing the distance they had to travel. However, this shortcut came at a significant cost. State broadcaster CCTV reported that the suspects had inflicted "irreversible damage" upon a section of the Great Wall dating back to the Ming Dynasty, which had been described as a "relatively intact" portion of substantial research value.

Images broadcasted on Chinese state television depicted the aftermath of the incident—a dusty road carved through what appeared to be the remnants of this ancient barrier. These pictures were initially shared by the police department in Youyu County, Shanxi province, which revealed that the damaged section of the Great Wall belonged to the 32nd Great Wall established during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Since 1987, the Great Wall has held the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage status. Its extensive length is divided into various sections that collectively stretch for thousands of kilometers. This monumental construction project commenced in the third century BC and continued to evolve over the centuries.

The Great Wall remains a magnet for millions of visitors worldwide, drawn to its grandeur and historical significance, making it a treasure of both cultural and architectural importance.

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