Beijing: A special fund has been set up to protect the Great Wall of China, one of the seven wonders of the world, amid criticism that it is poorly preserved.
China Culture Relics Protection Foundation raised about 18.2 million yuan (USD 2.9 million) from donations. A committee was set up to manage the money, official media reported.
The Great Wall listed as one of the seven wonders of the world has a total length of 21,196 kilometres.
The ageing world heritage site is confronted with pressing challenges including a lack of protection staff and most notably a shortage of renovation money in some undeveloped regions.
An expert recently said the Wall is poorly preserved and affected by irresponsible industrial development and a lack of funds.
"Almost three quarters of the part of the wall built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) is poorly preserved, and less than 10 per cent is in a relatively sound condition," said Wu Guoqiang, secretary-general of the China Great Wall Society.
The society was founded in 1987 and is dedicated to researching, protecting and restoring the Great Wall.
Wu said that only foundations remain of some sections and both humans and nature are posing severe threats to the Great Wall.
The Great Wall was built continuously from the 3rd century BC till the 17th century AD as military defence.
It was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.
Over four million tourists visit the Great Wall every year and it is the centre of China's tourism campaign.