If visiting the Great Wall of China happens to have made it onto your bucket list, or any other list, you should probably start looking at plane tickets pretty soon.
A wall that is visible from space, constructed in the 14th century to help with the defence of the nation. But what happens when a wall that once spanned 21 196.18 km starts to disappear. Obliterated over thousands of years by the combined forces of time, nature and man, the Chinese state administration has recently found out to what extent.
The presence of the wall has been reduced by nearly 30%, which equated to approximately 2000 km, with more than 1000 km that are in poor condition. And the figures keep getting worse, with the Great Wall of China Society declaring over 70% of the wall as poorly preserved.
Yes, the wall is old, therefore a certain amount of damage can be expected. Although it is the theft of bricks that accounts for the majority of the destruction. This problem was supposed to have been surmounted with the implementation of regulations and laws against the defacing of the wall, in 2006. But officials say that the ¥5 000 fine is hard to enforce, with a lack of organisation and problems of jurisdiction when the offence occurs on the border between two provinces.
The protection and eventually the restoration of the wall needs new penalties, enforcement of the existing laws and more importantly an increased effort to inform the locals of the importance of this monument, that once destroyed will be a great loss. These actions are are no easy undertaking, but bulldozing sections of the wall or selling pieces to tourists should not be seen as normal.