Beijing to fine climbers of “wild Great Wall” amid National Day holiday

By Lin Xiaoyi Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/29 19:57:41

A drone cruises over the No.90 tower of Badaling Great Wall at Yanqing district, Beijing to observe its restoration and reinforcement condition on Sunday afternoon.Photo: Li Qiao/GT

Compared with the tourism industry, which is waiting gleefully for the "busiest ever" holiday season since the COVID-19 outbreak, heritage authorities at the foot of the Great Wall have deployed protection for the historic site during the Golden Week, saying that people who climb broken or closed sections of the Great Wall shall be fined as a warning to avoid irreparable damage to the relics. 

The broken or closed sections of the Great Wall, or "wild Great Wall," recently became preferred destinations for many people for holiday travel.

Since climbing the "wild Great Wall" is very dangerous and can cause irreparable damage to this historic site, additional Great Wall protectors are being deployed at the Shixia section of Yanqing District, where tourists often show up during the holidays, and they will increase the frequency of their patrols. 

The local cultural relics administration has also developed a QR code with a public service organization called Greatwall Post, to keep a record of protectors' work. If tourists are found climbing the wall illegally, protectors will scan the code and record the information for real-time monitoring and management. 

Huairou District is also facing unprecedented control pressure. The local authorities have arranged cultural relics enforcement teams to collect information about plans for illegal climbing from the internet.

There are explicit prohibitions against organizing the climbing of the parts of the Great Wall that are not open, and violators will be fined between 200 yuan ($29.3) and 30,000 yuan in Beijing.

According to an employee of the Huairou District Cultural Relics Administration, thousands of tourists come to Huairou every year to climb the "wild Great Wall", and now that the third phase of the Jiankou section's renovation project is being completed, many netizens expressed their hopes to visit it.

"This year's National Day holiday lasts eight days, and the number of visitors to explore the 'wild Great Wall' is bound to increase," Yu Haikuan, director of the Yanqing District Cultural Relics Administration, told the Global Times.

Yu said that the "wild Great Wall" was originally popular among foreigners and veteran travelers because of its rustic character. This year, foreign tourists have been decimated due to border restrictions in response to imported COVID-19 infections, but it is increasingly being recommended in China for its uniqueness and niche appeal.

Yu noted that the existing Great Wall segments in Beijing are heritage  sites developed over 400 years, with weathering and collapses, and some sections are very steep, sloping to 60-70 degrees. In the absence of safety facilities, it is very possible for tourists to get lost or fall off a cliff, creating difficulties for follow-up protection and reinforcement.

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