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'The Piano Guys' scales the Great Wall for video shoot

Internet sensation, the Piano Guys are in China. The Utah-based group took some precious time off their Asian tour in Singapore and Malaysia to fulfil their China dream - shooting a music video on the Great Wall of China...

September 16, 2013
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Great Wall Forest Festival kicks off

The 2013 Yanqing Great Wall Forest Festival, the fourth edition of its kind, was held from August 24 to August 25 in the Tanglewood Music Valley at the foot of the Great Wall Badaling Section in Beijing's Yanqing County...

August 29, 2013
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Jet Team above the Great Wall

Aircraft of Breitling Jet Team, a famous European aerobatic team, perform above the Great Wall of the Jiayuguan Pass in northwest China's Gansu Province, Aug. 13, 2013...

August 16, 2013
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Unique section of the Great Wall draws in visitors

As people all know what the Great Wall looks like but did you know that some of it is built over water? The Jiumenkou section of the wall in Liaoning Province in North East China is famous for just that...

  August 09, 2013
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Sandstorms Devouring Great Wall in NE China

Sand storms in northwest China's Gansu Province are reducing sections of Great Wall to mounds of dirt and may cause them to disappear in about 20 years, according to archaeological experts.

Zhou Shengrui, former curator of the Minqin County museum, said that a national survey in the 1980s recorded more than 60 kilometers of Great Wall in the county. He reported that this section of the wall was rapidly disappearing.

This part of Great Wall, built in the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.) and extended in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), is on the main trunk of the Wall. It runs from the Shanhaiguan Pass in north China's Hebei Province westward to Gansu's Jiayuguan Pass, about 500 kilometers west of Minqin.

"This section of Great Wall was made of mud rather than brick and stone and is more prone to erosion. Over time, the wall has become brittle and the mud has been sanded down and blown away," Zhou explained.

"Similar erosion has happened to the Great Wall in other places, but the situation is much more worse here," he added.

Extensive farming since the 1950s sapped underground water in Minqin and destroyed the local ecology. The 400-sq-km, 60-meter-deep Qingtu Lake has dried up in the last 30 years. By the early 1990s, the lake was smothered by creeping yellow sand and become part of the Badain Jaran Desert, which now spans more than 40,000 square kilometers.

Minqin has since then become a major source of sand storms in northwestern China.

"Frequent storms have not only eroded the mud, but also cracked the Wall and caused it to collapse or break down," Zhou said.

More than 40 kilometers of the Wall have disappeared in the past 20 years. Only about ten kilometers remain.

Its height has been reduced from five meters to less than two meters. The square lookout towers have disappeared completely.

Wei Zhaobai, 61, a resident in Chengxi Village, Daba Township of Minqin, said, "The Great Wall gets shorter every year.”

"When I was seven or eight years old, the section of Great Wall about 1,000 meters west of my village was still like new. We used to walk on it like the ancient soldiers," Wei said.
"As a relics protector, it saddens me to see the Great Wall being blown away, but we hope it can be a warning of what we have done to ourselves and our environment," Zhou said.
He said that unless the local vegetation was re-seeded and the sand storms contained, the damage would be irreversible.

Local workers are covering the wall remains with more sand and dirt. "If sand storms strike again, it will take some time to blow the top-dirt away. That'll give us time to build barriers and plant trees," Zhou said, adding that there was no other solution at present.


Sandstorms Devouring Great Wall in NE China

Sandstorms Devouring Great Wall in NE China

(Xinhua News Agency August 29, 2007)

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