Digging History

Great Wall controversy: Vandal video sparks outrage

A brief viral video showing a man attacking a purported part of the Great Wall in China has generated buzz, anger, and a police investigation.

The clip, which emerged recently, depicts the man removing a brick from the wall, then kicking another, which tumbles down. The part of the wall in the video is in the county of Hulai, in Hebei province, which is near Beijing in the country’s north, local media reports say.

According to the South China Morning Post, harming the wall can result in a decade in prison for the perpetrator. People who take bricks can also face fines.

However, one Chinese media report published on Friday said that the man in question had turned himself in amid the brouhaha over the clip. He had reportedly made the video to capture the attention of his WeChat contacts; WeChat is a popular Chinese messaging service akin to WhatsApp.

The man’s punishment is a fine of approximately $75 and 10 days of “administrative detention,” according to the People’s Daily Online.


But the man in the video is not the only person to garner attention for actions involving the Great Wall: A supposed piece of the wall was available for sale early on Monday on eBay, then later removed, with the seller claiming to FoxNews.com that it was a fake.

The original posting on the online auction site showed a small rock with the words “Great Wall of China” written on it in green. Another image showed a man in shorts and a tank top standing on the wall.

“I collected this piece off the Great Wall of China North of Beijing,” the listing read. “Photo shows size and proof I was on the wall to validate authenticity.”

But eBay bidders keen to own a supposed piece of China’s history are out of luck.

The eBay seller, who used the handle delong77714, told FoxNews.com in an email that it wasn’t real. “I decided to take the post down,” he wrote, after being contacted by FoxNews.com. “It was a fake.” The listing is no longer online. 

Bidding on the item was set to begin at one cent. EBay has not yet responded to a request for comment from FoxNews.com.

The Great Wall of China, the construction of which took place up until the 17th century, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to the United Nations organization, the wall, which spanned thousands of miles, was the “world’s largest military structure.”

Last year, the Guardian reported that approximately one-third of the wall had “disappeared” as it suffered at both the hands of humans and nature.

Additional reporting by James Rogers.