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Great Wall facelift stirs controversy

(Global Times)    09:04, June 20, 2018

A local authority on Tuesday denied online reports about misconducted renovation of a Great Wall heritage site by using archaized bricks in Datong, North China's Shanxi Province.

The renovation project was examined by experts and approved by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and Shanxi Culture Relics Bureau, Pan Guojun, head of the relic office at Datong City Culture Relic Bureau told Global Times on Tuesday.

The bricks should not be called archaized bricks. "They were handmade bricks based on the ancient method," Pan said.

A netizen surnamed Zhang on Sunday visited the site, a Great Wall fort built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and took a photo which showed an excavator peeling off the bulge of the loess wall to make a flat surface on it to attach the bricks, btime.com reported on Monday.

"It was not an excavator but a loader that was unloading material for renovation instead of peeling off the wall," Pan explained.

Many netizens praised the repair of cultural relics but noted that if the renovation could not obey the principle of maintaining the fort's original look as a historical site, it was actually damaging it instead, said btime.com.

If the textual research confirmed the loess walls were originally covered with bricks, then using bricks made in an era-appropriate method is no problem, Liu Su, a professor of architecture at Hunan University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The walls were originally covered with bricks, some of which still remain there, Pan said, adding that the renovation was to protect the site and ensure tourists' safety.

Desheng Bao, or literally "fort of victory" was the largest strategic post of the Ming Dynasty as part of Ming's Great Wall, btime.com reported quoting public data.

The renovation work began in April and is expected to be finished by the end of 2019, according to authorities.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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