In a shocking incident, two workers have been detained in northern China after causing severe damage to a section of the Great Wall. The incident occurred in Youyu County, approximately 215 miles east of Beijing, when a 38-year-old man named Zheng and a 55-year-old woman named Whang used an excavator to plow through the ancient structure, leaving a gaping hole.
According to a news release by the Youyu County Public Security Bureau, the pair created a shortcut by widening an existing gap, making it large enough for the excavator to pass through. This reckless act caused irreversible damage to the integrity of the wall and posed a threat to the safety of the cultural relics. The section of the Great Wall affected by the incident is believed to have been constructed by the Ming dynasty between the 14th and 17th centuries.
Upon being notified of the damage on August 24, law enforcement officers rushed to the scene and discovered the magnitude of the destruction caused by large-scale mechanical excavation. The Chinese authorities, known for their strict preservation measures, wasted no time in taking action against the perpetrators. Zheng and Whang, who hail from Inner Mongolia, have been detained for investigation and charged with destroying a cultural relic, as reported by The China Daily, a state-owned media outlet.
The Great Wall of China, spanning over 13,000 miles, served as a fortress protecting the territory from invasions under successive Chinese empires. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987, it is considered one of the most iconic monuments in the world. However, the preservation of this historical wonder has faced numerous challenges over the years.
According to figures from the Chinese government, as much as 30 percent of the original structure may have disappeared by 2015. Human activities, including theft of bricks by local residents for construction purposes, have contributed to the poor condition of certain sections. Additionally, vandalism by tourists has also posed a significant threat to the preservation efforts. In 2017, carvings in Chinese, English, and Korean on the wall drew attention to its deteriorating state. Furthermore, incidents of trespassing and carving names into the wall have marred its historical significance.
This recent incident adds to the mounting difficulties faced in safeguarding the Great Wall. The damage caused by Zheng and Whang highlights the urgency of implementing stricter measures to protect and preserve this priceless cultural heritage. As authorities continue their investigation, it is hoped that the culprits will face appropriate legal consequences for their actions.