Great Wall of China damaged by visitors cooking meal over campfire

Bricks left charred and blackened after group fires up an oven at heritage site northeast of Beijing

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 December, 2017, 1:45pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 December, 2017, 7:31pm

A section of the Great Wall of China northeast of Beijing was damaged after a group of visitors started a fire to cook a meal, state media reported.

A group of at least six people were spotted lighting a fire next to the heritage site, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Tuesday.

The wall is a Unesco World Heritage site and attracts 10 million visitors every year. The incident took place at the Panlong Mountain section, about 150km from the Chinese capital, the report said.

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The fire was discovered on Saturday by volunteers responsible for protection of the section.

The volunteers alerted an official in charge of managing the section, identified only by his surname Li, who went to investigate, the report said.

“We asked them to follow us down the mountain, but they were uncooperative and refused to show us their identity cards,” he was quoted as saying.

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Li and his colleagues extinguished the fire and admonished the visitors, he said.

“At the end they just left and we could not stop them.”

Photos reportedly of the scene showed a man using bricks to build a stove and heat a cooking pot. A bag of noodles was next to it. Some of the bricks near the fire appeared to have been charred.

Under Chinese law, anyone caught damaging or endangering a cultural relic site is subject to either a warning, a fine of up to 500 yuan (US$75) or up to 10 days’ detention.