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Monday, 24 November, 1997, 16:12 GMT
China's Great Wall controversy

A dispute has emerged in China over the sanctity of the Great Wall, after a vegetable wholesaler knocked a hole in it to expand his business.

The Relics Protection Bureau says an inquiry is under way into how the businessman was able to continue knocking down the wall, even after being told to stop by the authorities in a town Xuanhua north of Beijing.

A similar incident was reported east of the capital, where a section was demolished to make way for a road.

Press reports say residents of the two areas welcomed the moves, as part of economic development, but others argued that China's cultural relics were not sufficiently cherished.

One man is reported as saying knocking a hole in the wall is like knocking a hole in the heart of the Chinese people.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service


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