The Great Wall of China is crumbling because of illegal mining

The 5,500-mile-long Great Wall of China, completed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), hasn’t been renovated but instead left untouched as an archeological site.

“We have no idea how many enterprises are engaged in the mining along the Great Wall site,” says Guo Jianyong, an engineer from the Hebei provincial ancient architecture protection institution. “The cultural heritage department has no knowledge of the specific information on the passages in the mining, either.”

According to a report published in the Chinese newspaper People’s Daily, more than 80 percent of the construction is in bad shape, with huge holes have been punched through the wall in some areas. Except for segments near Beijing , most of the Great Wall is not protected by the authorities.

“Actually the biggest problem is not illegal mining, but simply the fact that there is no regular maintenance,” said Dong Waohui, the vice-chairman of the Great Wall Association.

“Each year, local governments report damage on their stretch of the wall to Beijing and then the central government allocates funding for worst areas. But this is not maintenance work, this is rescue work.”