The government agency explained the reduction by deploring the looting of the Wall’s bricks by the Chinese, for the construction of their homes.
The increasing number of tourists who explore parts of the Great Wall that have not been repaired have also led to its destruction.
According to a 2014 survey done by the Great Wall of China Society, only about 8.2% of the Great Wall is in good condition, with 74.1% classified as poorly preserved.
Only eight percent of the Ming Dynasty wall, which was first built 700 years ago and is the most visible section of the wall, is well-preserved, reported the People’s Daily Online.
Many visitors to China associate the Great Wall with an extensively restored stretch of Ming era wall at Badaling near Beijing, but this is far from typical of most of the structure.
Moreover, as the Great Wall is a large structure running through 11 provinces, regions and municipalities, a holistic conservation approach should be taken, and a systematic protection plan must be drawn up, which defines and coordinates the obligations of different provinces and governmental departments, Dong said.
Of those, 1,962km have melted away over the centuries, the Beijing Times reported.
In places it is so dilapidated that estimates of its total length vary from 9,000km to 21,000km, depending on whether missing sections are included.
Vice president Dong Yaohui said: “Even though some of the walls are built of bricks and stones, they can not withstand the perennial exposure to wind and rain”.
Some special bricks used on the Great Wall that have caved Chinese characters are being sold by local villagers, who live close to the wall.
Though there are laws against the removal of bricks from the Great Wall of China – with fines of up to 5,000 Yuan (approximately $805 USD) – Jia Hailin, a cultural relics protection official in Hebei province, says they’re rarely enforced.
A recent surge in interest from tourists in visiting unexploited sections, known as the “Wild Great Wall“, has accelerated its deterioration, according to the report.
While China adopted a set of regulations to protect the Great Wall from such damage in 2006, the Beijing Times noted that since such few resources devoted to policing those restrictions, they amount to, what it called, “a mere scrap of paper”.