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China's Great Wall raises defences against ravers

Written by: Staff
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BEIJING, Oct 25: China has banned partying, stunts and other ''inappropriate behaviour'' on the Great Wall to protect one of its top tourist attractions from erosion.

The Great Wall, which snakes its way across more than 6,400 km, receives an estimated 10 million visitors a year, mostly to the mere 10 km opened to tourists at Badaling, the nearest stretch to Beijing.

More adventurous visitors climb wilder, crumblier sections that are not officially open to the public and stretches near the capital have become popular sites for summer raves.

The new rules, issued by the State Council, or China's cabinet, prohibit the driving of vehicles on the wall or group activities such as parties.

''Inappropriate tourist exploration has caused damage to the Great Wall and its historical features,'' the government's Web site on Wednesday cited a State Council official as saying.

Last year, some revellers were ''involved in such indecent and illegal activities as urinating and drug abuse on the wall'', the China Daily said earlier of a party that was widely reported and sparked a public uproar.

In 1992, a Hong Kong motorcyclist leapt the wall and American David Copperfield did his magic stunts there three years later.

''According to the new regulations, this will be considered illegal in the future,'' the Beijing News said.

The regulations also urge local governments to limit numbers of visitors to the Great Wall which the United Nations listed as a World Heritage Site in 1987.

REUTERS

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