The façade of a century-old bridge in Dalian, Liaoning province has been severely damaged and covered in a layer of lime after an illegal restoration. The botched restoration has been criticized by the public as “a barbaric devastation of a cultural relic.”
Built in 1907 by Japanese invaders, the “Victory Bridge” is famous for its elaborate carvings and historic significance. It is recognized by locals as Dalian’s starting point, and was listed as a protected cultural relic in 2013.
“The restoration of the bridge began at the beginning of September. [The construction team] removed the bridge’s original concrete façade, covering it with lime. They also added some plastic steel carvings in order to replace the original carvings,” a relics protection volunteer told Thepaper.cn on Oct. 31.
The local cultural relics protection bureau confirmed on Oct. 25 that they did not approve the restoration, and the construction crew was not eligible to carry out a cultural relics repair.
According to China’s Cultural Relics Protection Law, the restoration of listed cultural relics must be approved by the local relics protection bureau and conducted by certified craftsmen. The original appearance of the relic should not be altered by restoration.
An official from Dalian's Urban Construction Bureau told Thepaper.cn that they were not aware of the bridge’s protected status, stressing that the bridge was old and in bad shape, with its façade falling apart in several locations, posing a threat to public safety.
Although the local cultural relics protection bureau has ordered the restoration halted, the crew was still working on the bridge as of press time. The Urban Construction Bureau explained that the restoration cannot be stopped due to safety reasons, and the façade will be properly dealt with once the safety threats are eliminated.