Jinshanling, the best preserved section of the Great Wall, meanders along a mountain ridge in Chengde, North China’s Hebei Province on Tuesday, emerging like a dragon partly hidden amid the clouds. The oldest section of the Jinshanling wall was built in 1368, during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Photo: CFP
China is ramping up efforts on protecting the Great Wall, calling for greater public involvement, after several cases of vandalism made national headlines this year.
The State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) on Wednesday released a report on protecting the Great Wall.
The report includes a national survey on the Great Wall's condition, the management and maintenance of relics, its historical and cultural value, and the targets and actions needed for future protection work.
Thursday marked the 10th anniversary of the promulgation of regulations on protecting the wall, according to a press release SACH sent to the Global Times.
Culture Minister Luo Shugang said at a press conference in Luanping, Hebei Province that it is important to encourage everyone to protect the Great Wall, implement protection projects, launch a national management mechanism and intensify the daily patrol and maintenance of the relics.
"This is the first time SACH has issued a report on the condition of and protection work on the Great Wall, including the obstacles and protection methods. And it serves as a guideline for future work," Dong Yaohui, a Great Wall expert, told the Global Times.
According to data released by SACH in June 2015, a total of 1,961 kilometers of the Great Wall has disappeared, and a further 1,185 kilometers are in poor condition.
The local heritage bureaus in some regions in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region have criticized the poor protection of the Great Wall, including lax inspections on illegal construction, mining and farming within the protection areas of the Great Wall, local news portal nmgnews.com reported in November.
He Xinyu, a Ningxia Museum researcher specializing in the protection of the Great Wall, told the Global Times that the protection methods should be adjusted depending on the condition of the relics in different regions.
"Restoration work does not mean pouring concrete on the relics. Some sections that were made of rammed earth and have since been covered by vegetation should be free from human activity," said He.
The public decried a project to "enclose" the Great Wall in Suizhong county, Northeast China's Liaoning Province, after pictures circulated online showed that miles of the wall's Xiaohekou section in Liaoning covered with concrete in October.
The report also called for joint efforts from different regions, governmental departments and greater public involvement to shore up protection work.
"SACH has launched a long-term mechanism with the Ministry of the Public Security to reinforce law-enforcement along the Great Wall … SACH has provided a hotline to report illegal activities," read the report.
Authorities from Beijing's Pinggu district, Tianjin's Jinzhou district and Xinglong county in Hebei Province signed an agreement on protection the Great Wall, which states that officers from the three administrative units will jointly deal with illegal construction adjacent to the wall, prevent damage to the surrounding environment during scenic development and curb damage to the wall, the Xinhua News Agency reported in August.
"Aside from the national protection projects carried out by the authorities, some social groups are helping out. The report could also unite all these efforts," said Dong.