Nanjing holds some of China’s oldest and most valuable relics dating back from the 11th to the 2nd century BC. Well, it used to. Despite demands for the Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway company to redirect its construction route for a new high-speed train or take steps to protect the site, the company went ahead and destroyed much of the site.
China has been repeated accused of destroying the environment and historical sites in run-away construction projects. This is fueled by rampant corruption within government offices.
During initial surveys of the route for the new train, the company found a 250,000 sq ft area filled with “countless relics dating back to the Shang (16th to 11th century BC) and Zhou (11th to second century BC) dynasties.” When the Cultural Heritage Bureau demanded that the route be changed, the company refused and insisted that its rail line trumped cultural preservation as a matter of “national importance”. When the city then told the company to pay 5 million yuan to relocate the site, the company simply ignored the demand and damaged the site in construction. Now, it faces a 500,000 yuan fine. However, that is one-tenth of the original amount ordered for the company to pay — a curious penalty.
The government admits that the site is now “severely damaged.” This story follows other accounts of massive damage caused by mega projects like the Three Dam project. Recently, it was reported that even the Great Wall of China is being damaged due to the massive pollution in the country.
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