Tradies arrested for smashing shortcut through Great Wall of China

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China’s Great Wall has been pierced by Genghis Khan, the Manchus, and now, allegedly, a couple of construction workers named Zheng and Wang who wanted a shortcut.

Authorities arrested two people for smashing a path through a section of the ancient wall, a cultural icon and United Nations protected heritage site.

The area of the breach was a broken-down section far from the restored segments most Chinese and foreign tourists are familiar with.

Two people have been arrested for allegedly tearing a giant hole through the Great Wall of China with an excavator to create a shortcut.Credit: Youyu Public Security Bureau, China

State media showed a dirt road cut through the wall against a rural landscape in Youyu County, hundreds of kilometres west of Beijing, and identified the suspects as a 38-year-old man surnamed Zheng and a 55-year-old woman surnamed Wang. The pair wanted a shorter route for some construction work they were doing in nearby towns, the reports said.

China places immense pride in the system of towers and connecting walls that stretch approximately 8850 kilometres and are wide enough for carriages to pass. It was built mainly during the Ming dynasty that lasted until 1644.

In that year, Manchu tribes people from the north overcame China’s defences and took over the empire as the Qing dynasty.

The Great Wall of China.Credit: iStock

The wall was subsequently abandoned and plundered for bricks and stones by local villagers, only to be revived by the Communist government as a symbol of patriotism, mass mobilisation and resistance to outside pressure.

The Youyu County government said the arrests were made after a report of the breach was received on August 24. It said the two suspects were in custody with further legal action pending.

In its citation of the Great Wall, UNESCO described it as reflecting the “collision and exchanges between agricultural civilisations and nomadic civilisations in ancient China”.

“It provides significant physical evidence of the far-sighted political strategic thinking and mighty military and national defence forces of central empires in ancient China, and is an outstanding example of the superb military architecture, technology and art of ancient China,” the citation says.


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