The newest wonder of the world — China’s Great Wall of Concrete — has been judged and found “not good-looking” but ultimately “essential.”
Last week, photos went viral on Chinese social media showing one “wild” stretch of the Great Wall of China that had seemingly been made into a cement path for bikers. Officials at the Cultural Relics Bureau of Suizhong county confirmed that they had carried out this questionable “renovation work” back in 2014 in order to keep the 700-year-old section of the wall from collapsing under heavy rains. To do so, they had been granted a 10 million yuan subsidy from the national government, the Beijing Times reports.
Chinese netizens reacted with complete disgust at how the officials had decided to “fix” the ancient wall, and an investigation was immediately announced into the repairs with the State Administration of Cultural Heritage announcing that, “No one responsible for the project will be pardoned if management error or problematic construction quality is found.”
Well, not even a week later, investigators are back with their initial report, while admitting that there were some screw ups that require further investigation, the report ultimately concludes that the renovation work on the wall was “essential.”
Originally, the local bureau said that while it may look like they simply paved over the Great Wall with cement; in fact, the repairs were completed with an approved mix of sand and lime. Surprise, surprise, that turns out to have been not entirely accurate. Investigators have discovered evidence that cement was used in the renovation work, according to the Beijing Times.
While this would appear to have been illegal, still, one of the investigators, Fu Qingyuan, said that the “cement” mix forms a protective shell around the once-crumbling wall that is “essential” to its continued existence. Anyway, Fu explained, in three to five years the “cement” will be worn away, leaving the wall stronger than it had been before.
… so that’s good news!
The initial decision on the project seems to go along with a comment given last week by Ding Hui, Deputy Director of Liaoning Province’s Department of Culture, in which he admitted that the wall is “not good-looking,” but argued that that is not the most important thing when it comes to preserving relics.
In possibly related news, China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage also announced earlier today plans to establish a national-level protection and research center to better preserve the Great Wall.