The Hohhot Kekao Mining Co. is accused of destroying 330 ft (100 m) of China’s most famous structure while prospecting for gold. The damage occurred in Inner Mongolia, where the company is prospecting. This stretch of the wall is one of the oldest, dating to the Qin Dynasty (221-207 B.C.).
This isn’t the first time the Wall has been damaged. Local farmers often steal stones for building materials, much like what happened to parts of Hadrian’s Wall in England, and last year five miners were sentenced to up to three years in jail for damaging the Wall while operating heavy machinery nearby. Officials said those responsible for the new damage could face up to ten years because of the greater amount of destruction.
As China goes through its Industrial Revolution, its cultural heritage faces greater threats. The Industrial Revolution in England destroyed many of that country’s ancient buildings and stone circles, and the expansion of St. Louis, Missouri, in the nineteenth century destroyed virtually all trace of a prehistoric Native American town. St. Louis used to be called “Mound City” because of the numerous prehistoric earthen mounds there, but now only one survives. it would be nice if China could learn from other countries’ mistakes.