The decision to dismantle the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, offers us the opportunity to reflect on walls in the past and their surprising renaissance in contemporary California. The most famous of all is probably the Great Wall of China. It was begun in 221 B.C.E. by the emperor Shi Huang to protect Chinese farmers from marauding nomads of the Asian steppe. Signal towers were constructed and troops garrisoned along the wall to form an impenetrable boundary between China and the barbarians of the outside world. Chinese emperors also viewed the wall as a barrier preventing criminals and deserters from fleeing the domain of
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