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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘the Great Wall’ Category

Parts of China’s Great Wall Swept Away by Sandstorms

Posted by Author on August 30, 2007

Chris Gill in Shanghai, The Guardian, August 30, 2007-

The Great Wall of China, built to withstand raiding hordes from the steppes, is now in peril from a far more insidious threat: sandstorms generated by desertification in the country’s north-west.

The wall was built over several dynasties and despite its failure to prevent invasions, it has become a national symbol. Each dynasty favoured different construction methods, and a 40-mile section built during the Han dynasty, which used mostly packed earth bricks, is now being swept away.

The state news agency Xinhua has reported that sections of the wall are being turned into “mounds of dirt” by sandstorms, the after-effects of decades of agricultural malpractice.

An estimated 25 miles of wall have already been eroded. “Frequent storms not only eroded the mud, but also cracked the wall and caused it to collapse or break down,” archaeologist Zhou Shengrui told Xinhua.

The area disappearing is in China’s remote and arid Gansu province, formerly on the edge of the Chinese empire, and the gateway to the Silk Road.

The wall has been threatened by numerous dangers over the years, many a sign of China’s rampant economic and social development.

Ravers and migrant workers using the wall as a toilet, souvenir hunters, tourists scratching graffiti into the stonework, and the constant theft of masonry by itinerant farmers, have all contributed to the destruction of China’s most famous landmark.

China recently issued regulations for the protection of the Great Wall.

The state bureau of cultural relics is conducting a study of the wall using aerial remote sensing equipment, simple tape measures, GPS systems and photography, to find out its precise length.

Chinese scholars say the actual wall left standing is now around 1,500 miles long, down from its high of an estimated 3,900 miles in the Ming dynasty.

Remote sensing showed that Beijing originally had 391 miles of Great Wall, of which only 114 miles are now visible, the journal China Geography reported in January this year.

Parts of the wall have been rebuilt during the two millennia since it was first constructed. In one of its more disastrous episodes towards the end of the Ming dynasty, soldiers dismantled sections of the wall to build farms and villages.

According to Xinhua, conservationists in Gansu plan to bury the wall to protect it, and to plant vegetation to prevent further erosion.

– Original report from The Guardian: Sandstorms sweep away parts of China’s Great Wall

Posted in Beijing, China, Chinese Culture, disaster, Environment, Gansu, Heritage, News, NW China, the Great Wall, World | Comments Off on Parts of China’s Great Wall Swept Away by Sandstorms

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