They've been charged with "destroying a cultural relic."
But it was no match for two bumbling construction workers who punched a hole into the wall wide enough to drive an excavator through, according to The New York Times. The part of the wall that was damaged dates back to the Ming Dynasty, which spanned from 1368 to 1644.
The incident came to light on August 24, when someone notified local security about the huge hole in the wall, located in Yangqianhe, a township in Youyu County, roughly 5.5 hours from Beijing.
Local authorities detained two people allegedly responsible for the destruction, according to the report, a 55-year-old woman and a 38-year-old man from the Chinese autonomous region of Inner Mongolia.
China Daily, a government-controlled media outlet, reported that the reckless duo has "been charged with destroying a cultural relic." They were apparently trying to widen an existing opening to create a shortcut for the excavator in the UNESCO World Heritage Site — and unfortunately succeeded.
Hole in the Wall
Security officials found the two, who were working on a construction site nearby, after they had followed a "trail" to the neighboring Horinger County leading to the culprits, according to China Daily. The pair reportedly fessed up to the crime after being apprehended.
Though the Great Wall has withstood the test of time, this incident is part of a long line of vandalism throughout its history, according to the NYT. In fact, just this June, locals nabbed a man carving letters into a section of the wall with a key.
In 2021, CNN reported that two tourists were banned from the Great Wall for walking into a forbidden section of the structure.
While China has committed itself to preserving the remaining parts of the Great Wall, many of which have become overrun by tourists, the situation looks dire. According to a 2019 investigation, a whopping 18.4 percent of the Wall is considered poorly preserved. Just over 24 percent has disappeared over the ages.
In short, wandering bulldozers are only the tip of the iceberg.
More on border walls: China Is Building a Huge New Wall to Allegedly Keep COVID Out
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