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Ding Jinhao was here: 15-yr-old Chinese defaces Egyptian relic

Parents of a 15-year-old Chinese tourist have apologised after the teenager defaced a stone sculpture in an ancient Egyptian temple with graffiti. The act drew ire in both Egypt and China - generating a massive online backlash amongst China’s unforgiving netizens.


Writings on the wall: Ding Jinhao, from Nanjing, China scribbled ‘Ding Jinhao was here’ over hieroglyphics on the wall of an ancient Egyptian temple in Luxor.

The vandal carved ‘Ding Jinhao was here’ in Chinese in the 3,500 year old Luxor Temple. This was photographed by an embarrassed Chinese traveler and shared on Weibo, China’s micro-blogging site.


Saving art: The ancient structure after it was cleaned by authorities following the act of vandalism. Pic/AFP

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

It didn’t take long - actually, just a day - before outraged netizens tracked down Ding in Nanjing. Slammed online and exposed further in the mainstream, Ding’s parents quickly contacted media outlets.

“We want to apologise to the Egyptian people and to people who have paid attention to this case across China,” Ding’s mother said. Ding’s parents said they shouldered the responsibility of what their son did, adding he had learned his lesson.

“He has realized he made a mistake, and we beg your pardon, please give him a chance to correct his act,” they further added. Many social media users in China condemned Ding for damaging the ancient relic and his parents for not educating him properly.

One said, “Ding’s uncivilized behaviour disgraced Chinese people.” Another said, “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.”

$102 bn The amount Chinese tourists spend on international tourism in 2012 becoming the world's top tourism spenders

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