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Tourist Attacked Near Great Wall

October 10, 2002

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BEIJING (AP) _ A foreign tourist was attacked near the Great Wall of China north of Beijing and is ``possibly dead,″ Chinese police said Thursday. The British Embassy confirmed a Briton was missing and that a body was found in the vicinity last week.

An officer who answered the phone at the Yanqing Public Security Bureau, a police station near the Great Wall’s popular Badaling site, said a foreign tourist had been ``attacked and is possibly dead.″ He did not give his name and said he had no further details.

Alex Pinfield, a spokesman for the British Embassy in Beijing, said a British national was missing but said he could not give any name or gender.

``We can confirm that a British national has gone missing near the wall and that a body was found Oct. 2,″ Pinfield said. ``We cannot confirm the identity of the body or which part of the wall it was found.″

``We’re waiting for final verification of the identity,″ Pinfield said. He said the embassy was ``in touch with the family and offering consular assistance.″

Any attack on a foreign tourist _ especially near such a high-profile attraction as the Great Wall _ would rattle the Chinese government, which takes great pride in the lack of violent crime in its society and has been trying to showcase its attractions to the world in recent years.

Xie Jiuzhong, assistant general manager of the Badaling Tourist District, said he had heard reports of a foreigner being injured but said it had happened in Donggou, a nearby village. He had no further information.

The wall’s modern sections around the Chinese capital date from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Some parts have been restored since the Communist Party took power in 1949, and several _ including the most popular, Badaling, an hour north of Beijing _ draw hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

In recent months, Chinese and foreigners alike have underscored the importance of preserving the decaying sections of the Great Wall and preventing stronger sections from being worn down by tourists and careless visitors.

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