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Toll-dodging truckers breach China's Great Wall

By Chris V. Thangham     Jun 1, 2007 in World
Coal trucks drive through big man made gap opening to drive through Great Wall of China, to avoid tolls on highways.
China's heritage bureau has launched a probe into Chinese mining companies alleged to have brought down part of the Great Wall to allow their trucks to avoid paying road tolls, state media reported on Thursday.
While China is worried about Great Wall being one of the Seven Wonders of the World, some Chinese companies are drilling holes through it. Big trucks carrying coals from Coal mining companies operating near Hujiayao village, on the border between the northern province of Shanxi and Inner Mongolia, have opened a big gap in the Great Wall to make coal shipping easy. They want to avoid tolls on the main highways.
Xinhua news agency reports that they have also taken soil from parts of the Ming-era (1368-1644) wall to build houses and piled small mountains of coal against it.
The cultural heritage office in Datong, a major industrial centre in northern Shanxi, have declared the damage to the wall is illegal and will investigate soon.
Last October, China fined an investment company 500,000 Yuan ($65,000) for building a highway through a section of the wall in Inner Mongolia, state media reported.
The Great Wall spans more than 6,400 km (4,000 miles), and receives an estimated 10 million visitors a year. Most of them however visit only a small section of Great Wall 10 km at Badalin, the closest stretch to Beijing, capital of China.
The United Nations listed it as a World Heritage site in 1987. It has been rebuilt many times through the centuries, and many sections have been destroyed permanently through natural erosion and nearby residents scrounging for building materials.
Hope the China Government educate the villagers the importance of Great Wall, otherwise there will be more damages like this.
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