Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Friday, June 27, 2003
Regulation in Place to Preserve the Great Wall
Intrepid hikers will not be permitted to explore those unprotected sections of the Great Wall around Beijing from August onwards. The move is part of a long-awaited regulation aimed at protecting the Great Wall and was brought in by the Beijing Administrative Bureau of Cultural Relics Thursday.
Intrepid hikers will not be permitted to explore those unprotected sections of the Great Wall around Beijing from August onwards.
The move is part of a long-awaited regulation aimed at protecting the Great Wall and was brought in by the Beijing Administrative Bureau of Cultural Relics Thursday.
The Beijing Municipality, which extends far beyond the city's urban environs, has some 629 kilometres of the wall. But an increasing number of visitors in recent years to the wilder and more fragile stretches are threatening irreparable harm to the structure.
Each year, an average 5 to 6 million people from all over the world visit sections of the Great Wall around Beijing, bringing in millions in revenue, but causing incalculable damage, according to the bureau's statistics.
In the past decade the municipality's counties and townships have designed a series of visitor areas along the wall and also a number of hotels, shops and other facilities including cable cars, to take visitors to the top of some of the steepest sections.
"Some parts of the Great Wall have lost parts of their original structures, such as military installations, and instead look more like a market,'' Sun Ling, an official with the bureau, told a press conference yesterday in Beijing.
The new regulation has given the bureau the authority to draft a ruling that prohibits the building of any structure that poses physical and aesthetic damage to the wall and its natural setting. The prohibition extends 500 metres on either side of the wall.
"Those existing constructions, which are now illegal according to the new regulation, will be ordered to move within a fixed period of time,'' said Sun.
Another major problem for the relic protection department is that half of the Great Wall, mostly hidden in the mountains, is in a poor state, lacks protection and is in urgent need of renovation.
The daily activities of local villagers, such as herding, gathering firewood and cultivating wasteland, have hastened the natural deterioration of the wall.
More recently, as more and more people like to explore the wild sections of the wall, these parts have also been placed in jeopardy.
"Some of the explorers dug holes for pitching a tent, and some villagers set illegal outposts to make these hikers pay,'' said the official, who together with her colleagues carried out a two year investigation into the state of this most remarkable of ancient relics.
Under the new regulation any activities, including those mentioned, which damage or threaten the Great Wall will be forbidden.
"Every individual and corporation should fulfil the responsibility of protecting the Great Wall, which is the core of this rule,'' stressed the bureau's director Mei Ninghua.
The new regulation is said to be the first one around the country devoting to the protection of the Great Wall.
"We hope the implementation of the regulation from August 1 will lead to other provinces' actions of protecting the wall.''