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The Great Wall Sleepover Competition by Airbnb Gets Cancelled

There are no laws banning people from spending the night on the wall and some tourist companies also offer packages for camping on it, but this was the first offer of its kind, according to Airbnb.

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Airbnb cancels Great Wall sleepover competition
Airbnb cancels Great Wall sleepover competition. Flickr
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US-based home rental website Airbnb has called off a contest offering its users a chance to spend a night on the iconic Great Wall of China, official Chinese media reported on Wednesday.

The accommodation site asked people to write a 500-word essay on overcoming cultural boundaries in a bid to win a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience. But the plan sparked mixed response and concerns that it could contribute to the historic structure being damaged, the BBC reported.

According to state-owned China Daily, the company decided not to go ahead with the plan out of respect for public opinion.

Airbnb claimed that the event, called “Night at the Great Wall”, had permission from authorities. But the cultural commission in Beijing’s Yanqing district — in charge of the famous Badaling stretch of the wall where the stay was to take place — said it was not aware of the event and no approval had been given.

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The company launched the contest on its website on August 2. Wikimedia Commons

The company launched the contest on its website on August 2, offering eight selected travellers the opportunity to stay on the Great Wall, a Unesco World Heritage site considered one of the biggest feats of ancient architecture.

The organizers had planned to convert a watchtower of the 2600-year-old monument situated close to Beijing in the Badaling section into a double room with a bed, decor, candles and a bathroom, although without electricity and other related amenities.

There are no laws banning people from spending the night on the wall and some tourist companies also offer packages for camping on it, but this was the first offer of its kind, according to Airbnb.

Laws for protection and conservation of the monument, which stretches for thousands of kilometres, date back to 2006 and strictly ban installations not meant for conservation.

Also Read:Seven Wonders of the Worls: Ancient and Modern

Although the US-based company said it would not put so much as a new nail into the monument during the event, the campaign generated strong public backlash, leading to the cancellation of the contest. (IANS)

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China Will Get an ‘Understanding India’ Programme To Facilitate Cultural Exchange

"We would like to demystify the idea of India through this programme."

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India, China
PM Modi meets Xi Jinping, wikimedia commons

India plans to launch an “Understanding India” programme in China to “demystify” the country and create a better understanding of it.

Despite being immediate neighbours, India and China lack people-to-people contact and cultural exchange.

Indian Council of Cultural Relations President Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, who was in Beijing to attend the World Congress of Philosophy, said that by watching Bollywood and reading websites one can know India only superficially.

India and China on Saturday agreed on a joint economic project in Afghanistan, sources said after a two-day summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping here.
Representational Image, wikimedia commons

“India cannot be understood by simply reading books and visiting websites. India is an experience,” Sahasrabuddhe said.

“In most big countries like China, we are trying to have some kind of ‘Understanding India’ programme which will be a structural programme.”

The Rajya Sabha MP said that India was a “riddle” to the people outside because of its diversity and coexistence of masses despite the economic disparity in the country.

“We would like to demystify the idea of India through this programme,” Sahasrabuddhe added.

He also said the Indian cultural centres across the world that don’t have any name will be named after Indian monk Swami Vivekananda.

India, China
India is an experience

The cultural centre at the Indian Embassy in Beijing was named after the spiritual leader on Tuesday.

Also Read: Indian Art Forms in International Festivals Through Sands of Culture Series

“We respect everybody. There are Nehru centres; there are Mahatma Gandhi centres; there are Tagore centres but there are centres that did not have any names… so we thought it was fit to name all those under Swami Vivekananda because he symbolizes Indian culture in a multiple ways. He is an inspirational hero,” said Sahasrabuddhe.

There are 37 Indian cultural centres in the world. (IANS)