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China steps up Great Wall protection

Updated: Aug 15,2016 10:47 AM     

The Great Wall of China stands as one of humanity’s most awe-inspiring monuments. However, beyond the picturesque fragments of this UNESCO World Heritage site lies the rest of the Great Wall--in dire condition. Now a new joint protection program is hoping to change that.

Originally built to defend against nomadic intruders, the Great Wall now needs someone to leap to its defense.

Over the years, time has taken its toll on this stone giant, and so too have human activities, ripping off parts of the wall for souvenirs and construction materials.

Most of the existing wall today was built during the Ming Dynasty between the 14th and 17th centuries.

A recent report shows nearly a third of the Ming walls have disappeared while only over 8 percent are classified as in good condition.

Regulations aimed at protecting the wall came out nearly a decade ago, but implementation has come short.

“The border areas is the weakest link, because of the geographic conditions, the borderlines are not that clear. So it’s really hard for the patrolling team to distribute their responsibilities,” said Liu Mingwei, director of Inspection Department, State Administration of Cultural Heritage.

Recently, the cultural heritage departments along the fortification have initiated a Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei joint protection program to better preserve the Great Wall.

“With this joint protection program, everything is standardized, the patrolling areas and the fines. It makes our work a lot more effective,” said Zhao Jianming, a patrolling officer.

The patrolling teams are also planning on establishing a hotline and a WeChat account to strengthen cooperation among different entities, so that the Great Wall may indeed stay great for generations to come.