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Most of China's Wall in danger: Can it be saved?

The Great Wall, built in the Ming Dynasty and one of China's greatest tourist attractions, is a mere remnant of itself, according to a Beijing Times report.


The newspaper says that nearly a third of the wall has completely disappeared, through a combination of natural erosion, neglect, and people taking bricks for construction or to sell as souvenirrs. Only 8% of the wall could be described as "well-preserved."


What happens next is the big question. Dong Yaohui of the China Great Wall Society wants the entire structure restored and maintained because of its status as a world cultural heritage, but others point out that the local governments along the wall don't have the money or manpower to protect many kilometers of the wall passing through their territory. 


For more information and pictures from China's People's Daiy, click HERE

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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This is old news.  Very old.  Villages in proximity to the wall have been built from it's bricks for eons and the parts that people love to visit and pretend are historical are nothing of the kind, but completely newly built and Disney-fied versions for the tourists, foreign & domestic.  The Chinese government, in its (lack of) wisdom has no more interest in cultural preservation than it does in playing fair in any area of endeavor.  History and its artifacts are tools having no value beyond politics & appearances and all available to be bent to serve the current agenda.  Travel in China is not a literal experience, it requires of those interested to constantly weigh what one sees with what makes sense, a very tricky balancing act and impossible for most of us.  The other possibility is to just accept the party line and visit pretty places.


If anyone is interested in a more accurate version of the truth in all things China, than one can find in the popular press, I direct you to writer Peter Neville-Hadley, guidebook author, long-time China traveler & scholar, curmudgeon extraordinaire and moderator of the Oriental List, a place where he'll set the record straight, if no one else turns up to do it for him.

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