wThe restoration of a seven-century-old section of the Great Wall caused an uproar in China. From restoration pictures circulated on social media, the Great Wall has been transformed into something that looks like a bicycle lane.
Restored Great Wall photo online
Located in China’s northeast Liaoning Province, the 8km Xiaohekou section was known as one of the most beautiful sections of the unrestored “wild” Great Wall. The restoration project started in 2014, but the result has has only come to light recently as its photos were posted on China’s microblog Weibo, which immediately invited a flood of scathing criticisms, calling it a “sacrilege” of the Great Wall.
It appears that the section has been paved with smooth cement devoid of any sense of historic heritage. The restoration is “basic” and “coarse”, said Chinese netizens.
“Please don’t ‘restore’ our historic relics until you’re sufficiently capable,” said one netizen, “that’s not restoring the Great Wall, but paving roads. Guess they just want to drive on it?”
“Emperor Qin Shi Huang (the founder of the Qin dynasty and the father of the Great Wall) would turn in his grave if he heard of it.”
However, this is not the end of the story. The head restorer Chen Shushi responded to the public uproar and gave his version of the story.
Restoration of the Great Wall: Before vs. After
He pointed out that the alleged “before vs. after” restoration photos on social media are false, as the after-restoration photos were not shot at the location shown in the “before-restoration” one.
He explained that some rifts on the site were filled and a smooth, pavement-like protective layer was added to prevent further erosions caused by the elements. They restoration team did not use cement, but use sand and quicklime mixed in a certain ratio, a kind of material that was used in the old times.
Experts confirmed that ancient people used similar material to build the Great Wall. They also suggest that there should be bricks paved on the protective layer, otherwise it just looks ridiculous.
Bricks are seen on the restored Great Wall
Chen said that there were bricks on the construction, but they were weathered by wind, which explained the outrageously unsightly surface after renovation.
But still, can this response subside the uproar from the public? Maybe not.