Beijing, China (BBN)-The Great Wall in northern China cannot be seen with the naked eye from high orbit above the Earth or from the moon, as some people believe.

For centuries, those who have wanted to see the wall have had to make a trip to Asia to lay eyes on one of the greatest surviving artificial structures in the world.

These days, though, there is less of it to see, according to an article in The Beijing Times that cites local officials, statistics and a Great Wall scholar.

The article, which appeared on Sunday, said that 22 percent of what was considered the Ming dynasty Great Wall had disappeared, said a blog post published in the New York Times.

And the total length of the parts of the wall that have vanished, 1,961 kilometers, or 1,219 miles, is equal to about 30 percent of the artificial part of the Great Wall. (More than 6,200 kilometers of the Ming-era wall’s 8,851.8 kilometers is artificial, and the rest consist of natural barriers, the article said.)

Those numbers were released in 2012 by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, and no doubt more of the wall has disappeared since then.

The Beijing Times article caused a stir on social media on Monday.

People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s flagship newspaper, wrote in English on Twitter: “Report on vanishing Great Wall shocks the country.”

Global Times, a newspaper overseen by People’s Daily, expressed anxiety in a Twitter post: “Nearly 30 percent of Great Wall disappears. Fancy a trip before it’s all gone?”

People’s Daily Online and Global Times both ran stories on Monday that repeated the findings of The Beijing Times.