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Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (CHP) is a small grassroots, legally-registered NGO working to protect cultural heritage across China.

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Does the Great Wall of China still exist?

The Great Wall of China assuredly does exist. It serves as a figure of both strength and beauty, quietly resting between the mountains with pride.  Last weekend, we visited and studied two sites of the remains of the Great Wall in the Hebei province.  Though we are not Great Wall specialists, we recognize that these remains still retain all the characteristics that have been imprinted in the minds of the people throughout the world.

However, the Great Wall should be ten thousand li (5000 km) long, winding through the mountains and deserts of China.  Despite numerous scars over its body, the Great Wall perseveres and continues to stretch onwards.  This is a kind of unyielding spirit, a spirit that is of indispensable value to mankind, which is the reason UNESCO lists the Great Wall as a World Heritage Site.  Yet the question remains, does the Great Wall of China really still exist?

Many sections of the Great Wall are being mindlessly destroyed at will. As tractors and heavy machines roar along, highways cut through the heart of the Great Wall.  Its parts have become the flooring of animal pens, the foundations of amusement parks, and the basis of commercial markets.  Loud speakers broadcast the cacophonous chatter, laughter, and quarreling of visiting tourists and customers.  The ancient walls are used as shelves for merchandise.  Some people have even gone so far as remodeling parts of the Wall with doors and windows made of aluminum alloy and white ceramic bricks, giving it a striking resemblance to a garishly tiled bathroom.

These are the reasons that lead us to believe that the Great Wall no longer exists in the minds of the people.  If we do not take special precautions to protect the Great Wall, it will undoubtedly be destroyed before long.

At the time the Great Wall of China was listed as a World Heritage Site, the Chinese government promised the international community that China would do everything in its capacity to protect the Great Wall.  To fulfill this promise and to establish an honest and trustworthy society, let us begin by preserving the precious remnants of the Great Wall.

CHP has stopped numerous commercial activities and dangerous sporting events that threaten the preservation of the Wall.  The Chinese government has already taken steps prohibiting such destructive activities in the past few years.  We encourage citizens and visitors alike to not participate in events on the Great Wall that do not contribute to its preservation.  If you have any information regarding these illegal activities, you should contact the police or CHP immediately.

(Translated by D. Chu)

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