China’s rich cultural heritage is literally disappearing, warned a report from the government’s own State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH).

According to a survey, the group said that about 44,000 ancient ruins, temples and other cultural locales have vanished, while about one-quarter of the sites that are still in existence are in a fragile or poor state.

All told, the SACH registered 766,722 cultural heritage sites across the vast country (including the ones which have been damaged or have disappeared).

An unnamed official told Chinese state media that many cultural sites have been demolished to make room for construction projects (in the name of economic progress).

Liu Xiaohe, deputy director of the survey, confirmed that assertion, noting that the Shaanxi province has suffered the worst damage – losing more than 3,700 cultural sites, followed by Hunan (2474) and Hebei (1924).

(These results) have raised higher requirements for our country's cultural relics management, protection, scientific research and utilization, Shan Jixiang, director of the SACH, told Chinese media.

Shan added that the government should enact laws and regulations to protect the remaining heritage sites.

BBC reported that even the world-famous Great Wall of China is endangered by development and erosion.