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Group seeks to rename Montana’s Chinese Wall because of coronavirus

Photo of Chinese Wall in Montana via Flickr Creative Commons by Sam Beebe

Five self-described outdoor enthusiasts want to rename a famous Montana landmark because of the name’s association with China.

The Chinese Wall in the Bob Marshall Wilderness runs 50 miles across and is so named because it reminds some of the Great Wall of China.

“I think it’s pretty clear that after the Wuhan virus hit — I think you’ve seen some of the polling on how the people feel about the Chinese right now,” petition organizer Dan Fuchs told the Great Falls Tribune. “The Chinese just make it more and more clear what kind of threat they are to the world. For all of us to just sit around and accept that these people are reasonable actors is … there’s no reason for them to have a gratuitous name in the United States of America. That’s where we’re at with it.”

Fuchs is a former state representative who served eight years in the Montana House of representatives.

The petition on Change.org has generated just 91 signatures in three days. A counter petition began just a day ago already has more than 250 signatures.

“The Chinese Wall is a wonderous landmark that is truly a breathtaking thing to behold,” the petition reads. “Named because of its huge size and slight resemblance to the Great China Wall. Those who are familiar with the area would like the name to be left alone.”

Longtime resident Ernie Barber agrees.

“I just don’t get the problem there,” Barber said of objections to the escarpment’s name. “I’ve been here since age 12, and I’ve heard a lot of people talk about the Chinese Wall. I’ve never heard anybody say anything derogatory or negative about it. It’s all been an uplifting conversation. ‘Have you been to the Chinese Wall’ is something to be excited about, not ‘gosh, that’s a dumb name’ or anything demoralizing like that.”

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