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Road project puts Great Wall at risk

A SECTION of the 5,500-kilometer Kin Dynasty (1115-1234) Great Wall in northeast China has been severely damaged by a road construction project, according to local cultural authorities yesterday.

"The section of the Great Wall in Heilongjiang Province's border region with Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region has been irrevocably damaged," said Zhao Pingchun, deputy head of the relic protection office under the Heilongjiang Provincial Culture Bureau.

Heavy construction traffic has damaged the supporting walls and ditches of the Great Wall, according to a Xinhua reporter at the site.

Wang Dafang, a relic protection official with the Inner Mongolia regional culture bureau, confirmed that "damages were made by a road construction project on the Inner Mongolia side of the Great Wall."

The officials said construction on both sides of the Great Wall had been stopped while authorities from Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang investigate the damage.

"Workers have dug footing grooves 14 meters long and 10.5 meters wide for the building-support beams for a viaduct, which are only 15 meters away from the main body of the Great Wall," said Zhao, who made a field investigation on the Great Wall damage in Gannan County, Heilongjiang.

Wu Jie, a curator in an archaeological museum in Arong Banner, Inner Mongolia, said big holes were dug five meters away from the main body of the Great Wall.

The cultural authorities said workers were building an overhead intersection of the Arong Banner-Boketu Highway on the Inner Mongolia side of the Great Wall and the Qiqihar-Gannan Highway on the Heilongjiang side.

The viaduct was to span the section of the Great Wall.

The Kin Dynasty Great Wall spans 4,600 kilometers in China and it was added to the list of protected state key cultural relic sites in 2001.

Zhao said construction firms have evaded China's Relic Protection Law, which requires project managers to report the project plan to the relic protection authority for approval before carrying out the work.

The Kin Dynasty Great Wall was built by the Jurchen tribe to prevent invasion from the Mongols.


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