15-Year-Old Chinese Tourist Defaces Ancient Egyptian Temple With Graffiti

A 15-year-old Chinese tourist has been exposed as the vandal who carved graffiti into an ancient Egyptian temple.

On Friday, a photograph of the stone relief of the Luxor Temple, carved with the words “Ding Jinghao was here,” began circulating on Chinese micro-blogging site Sina Weibo. A tourist named Shen, who visited the temple three weeks ago, posted the photo on his account, which received more than 100,000 comments.

“I tried to wipe it with a paper towel, but it didn’t come off,” Shen said. “I didn’t dare to use water because the relic was more than 3,000 years old.” He added that he apologized to the tour guide, even though he wasn’t the one responsible.

Netizens were able to track down the personal information of the young man who carved the graffiti into the temple, including his age and where he attends school. The website of his former primary school in Nanjing was hacked to bear the same message left on the temple. Visitors to the site had to click the message before they could open the school’s homepage.

According to Ding Jinghao’s parents, their son wrote the graffiti a few years ago during a visit to the temple. They accepted responsibility for their son’s actions and said they were with a tourist group when it happened. They also said it was their lack of education and supervision that led to the graffiti.

“We have taken him sightseeing since he was little, and we often saw such graffiti. But we didn’t realise we should have told him that this is wrong,” the teenager’s mother said. “We want to apologise to the Egyptian people and to people who have paid attention to this case across China.”

The father added, “This is too much pressure for him to take.”

The 3,500-year old Luxor Temple is located on the east bank of the Nile in the city of Luxor (Thebes) and was founded in 14000 BC. An agency photographer for state-run Xinhua media report said Egpytian staff had worked to clean the graffiti off of the temple, but while there was some improvement, it could not be completely removed. Egypt’s ministry of antiquities, however, said the damage was superficial and measures were being taken to restore it.

What do you think should happen to Ding Jinghao for defacing the Temple of Luxor?