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Part of Great Wall damaged by construction

November 16, 2006 12:49 IST

China has heavily fined a construction company for destroying parts of the Great Wall in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

The Cultural Relics Bureau of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region recently fined a local infrastructure building company 500,000 yuan ($ 63,000) for causing disastrous damage to the Great Wall in Longsheng, a remote village in the city of Fengzhen. A large beacon tower had also been destroyed.

The company, which built a new road, had destroyed a section of the Great Wall and local officials are worried about people destroying cultural relics for economic purposes.

The Great Wall is generally considered to start at the Jiayuguan Pass in Gansu Province in northwest China and stretch 6,000 km to the Shanhaiguan Pass on the shores of Bohai Bay in the east.

However, no one knows for sure the ancient wonder's exact length.

Inner Mongolia has preserved the longest section of the Great Wall, or half of the total length of the Great Wall, one of the world's seven man-made wonders.

Experts believe human activities in the region make the Great Wall's protection extremely difficult. Moreover, natural disasters like sandstorms and earthquakes also pose great threats to the Great Wall.

The Great Wall was first built in the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), when separate sections were built in various strategic areas to defend China against invasion by northern nomadic tribes.

Last month, China issued a regulation to protect the Great Wall, which bans defacing and driving on the monument, taking soil or bricks and building anything on it that is not designed to protect it.

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