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Great Wall safeguarded in united action

Beijing is to unite with Tianjin and Hebei province to protect sections of the Great Wall bordering on the three administrative areas, according to the capital's cultural protection authority.

The united approach forms part of the further integration of the three areas.

Beijing will sign a cooperation framework agreement with Tianjin and Hebei on protecting sections of the Great Wall in the boundary areas, an official told Beijing Times on Monday.

The agreement will be handed to the State Administration of Cultural Heritage for coordinated implementation, said Shu Xiaofeng, director of the Beijing Department of Cultural Heritage.

Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei are home to large sections of the wall, the world's largest human-made structure, which dates as far back as the 7th century BC.

Since protection of the wall is covered by different administrative areas, conflicts occur when a section is located in a boundary area. For example, the border between Beijing and Hebei runs along the center of a section of the wall.

Liu Zhimin, an official at Hebei's Department of Cultural Heritage, said ideas and measures relating to regular repairs to the wall and the management of some resorts there are often different in Beijing and Hebei for the same section of the wall. This has made protection and management work difficult in the boundary areas, Liu said.

Dong Yaohui, vice-chairman of the China Great Wall Society, said: "It's nice to see that the integrated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei has pushed governments in the region to protect the relic together. This could serve as an example for the protection of boundary sections elsewhere."

Spanning 15 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, the Great Wall, built in different dynasties, runs for 21,196 kilometers-almost 2.4 times the widely believed estimate of 8,851 km, according to the latest survey by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.

Beijing is home to more than 600 km of the wall built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), while Hebei has more than 2,500 km.

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