Chinese tourist defaces Egyptian temple

Boy carved 'Ding Jinhao was here' in Chinese symbols

Chinese vandal defaces Luxor

I thought it only happened in the United States, but I was certainly wrong on that one.  They call themselves “taggers”, but they are merely immature vandals.  China and Egypt are both angry over the May 24th incident when a fifteen year old Chinese tourist defaced an Egyptian temple.

The boy and his parents were visiting the 3,500 old Luxor temple, when he carved ‘Ding Jinhao was here’ in Chinese symbols.  He was photographed by another Chinese tourist.

“The saddest moment in Egypt. I’m so embarrassed that I want to hide myself. I said to the Egyptian tour guide, ‘I’m really sorry,'” that traveler wrote on the original weibo post.  Weibo is China’s micro-blogging site.

“We want to wipe off the marking with a towel. But we can’t use water since it is a 3,500 relic.”

It took only one day for “netizens”, (frequent internet users), to find the young vandal.

International anger was immediately directed at Ding and his family.  The family responded rapidly.

“We want to apologize to the Egyptian people and to people who have paid attention to this case across China,” Ding’s mother said in a China Daily report.

Ding Jinhao’s father also appealed for the public to let his son be, saying: “This is too much pressure for him to take.”

The boy’s identification led to the hacking of his primary school’s website, the Global Times newspaper said.

Ding’s parents said they shouldered the responsibility of what their son did, adding he had learned his lesson.

The original weibo post was re-tweeted almost 90,000 times, received over 18,000 comments and was widely distributed across local media.

“Reading this disastrous news this morning is heartbreaking. I despise this behavior, especially in Egypt, the place I love. Now, I just want to say ‘Sorry’ to Egypt,” commented weibo user “Net bug jing jing.”

“It’s a disgrace to our entire race!” said another angry micro-blogger.

Chinese tourism has expanded greatly.  In 2012 it became the largest group of people visiting other countries.  They have surpassed both the Americans and the Germans, with 83 million Chinese spending 102 billion dollars annually.

The citizens of China were especially dismayed because just earlier this month Beijing instructed its people to be respectful tourists, and portray China’s people as honorable.

Egyptian authorities have been unable to entirely restore the temple, and remove all traces of the graffiti.  They say the damage is superficial, and believe it can be repaired to its original condition in time.

James Turnage

The Guardian Express


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