Date
21 January 2017
Before and after: The use of cement in restoring a crumbling section of the Great Wall in Liaoning province destroyed the cultural value of the ancient landmark. Photo: Beijing News
Before and after: The use of cement in restoring a crumbling section of the Great Wall in Liaoning province destroyed the cultural value of the ancient landmark. Photo: Beijing News

Great Wall botch-up: Cement used to restore ancient wonder

Cement is said to have been used in the restoration of a section of the Great Wall in Liaoning province, destroying the cultural value of the ancient landmark.

The project, which started two years ago with 10 million yuan funding from the national government, was intended to save a 1,200-meter crumbling section of the ancient landmark, Beijing News reports.

But workers apparently just covered the fortifications with what appeared to be cement, making them look like a carelessly paved path up the mountain slopes that destroyed the character of the historical structure.

Dong Yaohui, deputy director of the Great Wall of China Society, told the New York Times: “Repairing [the wall] like this has wiped out all the culture and history.”

Investigation revealed that the workers used cement instead of other approved materials, and this has resulted in portions of the road caving in and some materials protruding from the wall.

Fu Qingyuan, one of the six experts assigned to investigate the botch-up, said lime soil cushion was among the materials used in the project that had not been approved.

The use of cement would have violated national regulations on restoring and maintaining historical sites.

But Fu, who is vice president of China Society of Cultural Relics and chief engineer of the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage, remained confident that the restoration will turn out well later.

“The cement will disappear after about three to four years, and what will remain is its effect of strengthening the structure,” Fu said after his team inspected the restoration work.

While agreeing that the use of lime soil has some “procedural problems”, he said there should be further investigation before a conclusion could be made.

Dong said there had been similar cases in the past where restoration was not done properly.

He believes that those in charge of maintaining the “Wild Great Wall” should respect the way it looks now.

The object of any work on historical sites is “not to restore it to its former glory, or to make it look modern, but to keep it and maintain it as it is, with as little interference as possible”, Dong said.

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