Not even a Chinese knows the Great Wall of China as well as the British adventurer and writer William Lindersay.
Mr. Lindersay has devoted years of his time to the protection of the environment in general, and the Great Wall in particular. He founded the “International Friends of the Great Wall” association and regularly organizes publicity campaigns, for example the 'Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints' awareness campaign. He also launched the first ever project to introduce non-profit stewardship of a section of wilderness Wall through the establishment of a team of local farmers employed as rangers and the placement of 'green message' notice-boards.
William Lindersay became obsessed with the Great Wall as a schoolboy. When he announced grand plans to explore the GreatWall, nobody took him too seriously. But Lindersay achieved his goal and much more. In 1987 he traveled 2,470 km alone and on foot along the route of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall between Jiayuguan and Shanhaiguan, an experience that led him to stay in China and carry out systematic academic research during the 1990s.
The delights of the Great Wall were not the only thing to exert their fascination on William. He was also entranced by a Chinese woman called Wu Qi who was working in Beijing. This was the woman who later become his wife and his dedicated partner in protecting the Great Wall. Mr and Mrs Lindersay have two sons, and the family now lives in Beijing.
No one has worked harder than William in protection of and research into the Great Wall. He also promoted the idea that “If you haven't been to the Great Wall, you aren't a real man/ woman". He has won more and more responses and support from Chinese people in his conservation work.
Lindersay says that in his two decades in China, he has found that due to the surge in the number of people visiting the Great Wall and other scenic spots around the capital, the traffic and the surrounding environment are deteriorating.
His association has promoted a Countryside Code of conduct that gives specific advice to people on how to protect wilderness and agricultural land from despoliation caused by litter, noise, fire and other hazardous human activities. Association volunteers have asked walkers to pledge adoption of the nine guidelines, placed notice boards listing the Countryside Code beside trails, and distributed re-usable bags to encourage people to take their own garbage home.
Mr. Lindersay has also spent 10 years employing local folk to pick up garbage discarded by tourists on the Great Wall. He also organizes a number of cleaning events in the name of Friends of the Great Wall association. William says he has become China 's most famous cleaner of the Great Wall.
The article is edited and translated from《威廉•林赛：一个老外与长城的故事》, source: Morningpost , author: Wang Qifeng.