The use of concrete in the restoration of a section of the Great Wall of China in Suizhong county may have violated regulations, The Beijing News reports.

The restoration work was executed two years ago according to design sketches that had not yet been approved by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, the paper reported.

great wall cement
A section of the Great Wall covered in cement.

Fu Qingyuan – an expert who visited the site with a team last Friday – told the paper that the restoration process was procedurally unsound. Although the use of concrete was approved, the nature of its application was not included in the design sketches. It therefore did not make its way to the authorities for approval.

See also: In Pictures: Section of the Great Wall of China ‘saved’ with concrete surfacing

Dong Yaohui, vice-chairman of the China Great Wall Society, said that – even if concrete was used according to the approved plans – the restoration project would still be problematic as concrete is a different material to that used originally for the Great Wall. “What was originally built with stone should be replaced with stone,” he told the paper.

The restoration work has already begun to show signs of decay, with concrete pathways reportedly sinking.

Was cement used?

Cement was also allegedly added as a binding agent to the concrete used in the restoration job. Officials have denied such allegations, according to the New York Times. They have insisted that the mixture contained only lime and sand. But Liu Fusheng, a park officer from the county, told the Times that cement was, in fact, added.

Villagers of the Yong’anbao township, where the section of the Great Wall lies, have also told The Beijing News that they have transported cement to the restoration site for sixty cents a catty (HK$0.7).

great wall cement slab
A slab of unused cement reportedly found discarded near the section of the restored Great Wall.

According to regulations set by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, “cement and other untested materials are prohibited from being used in the restoration, reinforcement, or weatherproofing work of the Great Wall of China.”

stanley leung

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.