A restored section of The Great Wall of China is facing heavy criticism from Chinese netizens.

A section of the Great Wall covered in cement.

Bricks, stones, and other details of this 700-years-old section of the Great Wall have all been covered up by a smooth layer of cement. Forts and crenels on the wall have been filled in, turning the “battle-scarred wall into a pedestrian pavement,” one online commenter said.

This section of the wall is often referred to as the “most beautiful and wild section of the Great Wall.” A photography enthusiast told local newspaper Huashang Chenbao that the restoration project was completed in 2014. He is worried that they will continue to use this method of restoration in the future, he said. Another netizen said “it would be better if they hadn’t restored it – this is worse than destruction,” according to the paper.

In response to the attention received by this restoration project, the local Heritage Conservation Bureau told the newspaper that the project was approved by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage. The design of the project, its supervision, and the inspection were all justified and legitimate, the bureau said.

The bureau also said it would be incorrect to say that the “most beautiful and wild section of the Great Wall has been smoothed out by cement,” criticising netizens for not understanding the craftsmanship of restoration work.

This section of the Great Wall was built circa 1381 on a steep mountain in the Yong’anbao township of Suizhong County, and is listed as a Major Historical and Cultural Site Protected at the National Level.

Stanley Leung

Stanley is a Media and Communications graduate from Goldsmiths College in London. He takes particular interest in visual journalism, having produced photographic and video work on a number of social and political issues. He has also interned at the current affairs service of RTHK’s TV division.