Great Wall in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia Cut off by Mine Company

As reports went in 2009, Kekao Mine Company cut off the Great Wall of Qin and Han Dynasties (221BC to 220AD) into two sections on Daqing Mountain, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia. The mining work left a 100-meter (328 feet) long wall seriously damaged, and two 300 square meters (0.07 acre) with 5 meters (16.4 feet) deep pits were excavated there. It is said that their illegal behaviour broke the law; they were ordered to stop five times, but nothing changed. 

Great Wall & Inner Mongolia

To some extent, the Great Wall is the national symbol of China, and about 20 states and dynasties have built sections of the wall in Chinese history. Inner Mongolia, lying in the northern part of China, used to be the residence of nomads and many wars happened, thus many sections of walls were built as guard systems. As a consequence, numerous valuable Great Wall sections were left. Sites built in Qin, Han, Sui (581-618), Jin (265-420) and Ming Dynasties (1368-1644) in Inner Mongolia, extend as long as roughly 150 thousand kilometers (9 thousand miles), which accounts for more than 30% of the total length of the Great Wall of China.

Although, a great amount of cultural relics exist in Inner Mongolia, only one third of the Walls remain nowadays. According to a local expert, Wang Dafang, one third of the Walls have already disappeared and the other parts are partially damaged. The damaged sections this time on Daqing Mountain were built in the reign of Emperor Qin Shihuang. For this section, the earth was covered by bricks outside. Having served for the longest time in history, it is also the one of the oldest Great Wall section in China.

Why Damages cannot be Stopped?

Three main reasons lead to the desperate situation, namely natural force, human being’s destruction, and lack of knowledge.

Bad local environment caused some destruction of the Wall. Most sections lie in deserts in Inner Mongolia, so the desertization arouses big damage to the Wall. The effects by natural forces are inevitable, but the damage by humans’ can be controlled. So why allow human being’s to continue damaging the Chinese heritage?

One big reason is that the punishment is not severe. The damage on Daqing Mountain is not the first case. In 1999, the Great Wall of Zhao State (a state during Warring States Period 475 - 221 BC), having about 2,300 years history, was razed to the ground because of the construction of a road in Baotou city. 20 meters long (65 feet) Ming Great Wall was once pulled down to built a road in 2006, but only ¥500K was imposed as a fine. Still in 2006, the Wall with about 98 meters (321 feet) long was affected because of the construction of a factory in Baotou, but no penalty was ever imposed. It was not until 2008 that the people who destroyed the Wall were sentenced, from one to five years imprisonment; and this was the first time the destroyers were sentenced. From then on, no one has been allowed to evade legal sanction. The consecutive forgiveness leads to more and more precious and irreplaceable relics, and world-renowned Chinese cultural heritage disappearing.

Besides these two main reasons, lack of neighborhood knowledge also impacts the protection work. Many local people have no idea about the Wall in their hometown, let alone the protection information. According to a survey conducted by Inner Mongolia Great Wall Cultural Research Center in 2007, 90% of local people did not know the existence of the Wall. In their eyes, the 3 meter high (9.8 feet) stone walls were similar to their courtyard walls. Professor Li from the Research Center thought, the crucial factor regards protecting the wall was to let people know what the real Wall is as well as educating them of the constraints by law.


After this case, more effort was put into the protection of the Wall. In 2010, 38 farmers were employed as the protectors and their major duty is to inspect the Wall sections in remote areas as well as propagandize the protection knowledge of the cultural relics. The recovery of the Wall on Daqing Mountain was launched in the same year. Two conservation stations were set up in Qingshuihe County, Hohhot, so that the Ming Great Wall in this city can be preserved for posterity.

- Last modified on Mar. 27, 2019 -
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