Great Wall of China damaged 'irreversibly' after workers smash 'big gap' in ancient landmark to create a shortcut

6 September 2023, 12:36 | Updated: 6 September 2023, 12:47

Two construction workers have been arrested for smashing a hole in the Great Wall of China
Two construction workers have been arrested for smashing a hole in the Great Wall of China. Picture: Youyu Public Security Bureau

By Emma Soteriou

The Great Wall of China has been damaged "irreversibly" after construction workers smashed a "big gap" in it as a shortcut.

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Two construction workers were arrested after smashing a hole in the ancient landmark to save time.

They allegedly used an excavator to dig a hole in the area known as the 32nd Wall so that their machinery could fit through.

The duo wanted to reduce the distance they had to travel, police said.

They added that they caused "irreversible damage to the integrity of the Ming Great Wall and to the safety of the cultural relics".

The pair remain in custody with further legal action pending, the Youyu County government said.

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The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China. Picture: Alamy

Officers were made aware of the damage at the end of August, after receiving reports that there was a huge gap in the wall.

A local police statement read: "At about 4:20pm on August 24, the County Public Security Bureau Command Centre received an alarm saying that a gap had been dug in the Thirty-Two Great Wall in Yang Qianhe Township. 

"After receiving the alarm, the Criminal Investigation Team quickly rushed to the scene. After inspecting the traces on the scene, the police initially determined that the ancient Great Wall was damaged due to excavation by large machinery. 

"Subsequently, the police patrolled the line and found an excavator and a man and a woman in neighbouring counties. 

"After on-site questioning, it was found that the ancient Great Wall was destroyed by the two people. The police summoned the two people back to the county public security bureau for further investigation."

The Great Wall stretches approximately 5,500 miles and was built mainly during the Ming dynasty that lasted until 1644.

It was later abandoned and plundered for bricks and stones by local villagers, only to be revived by the communist government as a symbol of patriotism, mass mobilisation and resistance to outside pressure.

It has been a Unesco world heritage site since 1987.

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