Maggie: For more than 3,000 years, the spectacular Luxor Temple in Egypt has stood along the Nile River, a monument to ancient Egyptian architecture. But it is this not-so-ancient, not-so-impressive drawing that has now grabbed attention. It reads, “Ding Jinhao was here,” etched by a 15-year-old Chinese tourist.
Now, Ding Jinhao’s signature has become a major source of embarrassment for China after Shen, another tourist visiting the temple, posted a photo on a Chinese site similar to Twitter.
Shen said, “This is a relic with 3,500 years of history. Doodling on something I revere, I feel should be condemned.”
It received almost 100,000 re-tweets. But it didn’t stop there. Another user tracked down and posted the personal information of the teen believed to be behind the vandalism, publicizing his name, date of birth and school.
One user wrote, “You and your parents repair this. The face of 1.3 billion Chinese people has been lost.”
On Sunday, the boy’s parents pleaded to a local newspaper, “The kid made a mistake. We apologize.”
The controversy gained so much publicity that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying, “We hope that Chinese tourists will abide by local laws and behave themselves.”
As the Chinese economy has grown in recent years, so has Chinese tourism. Government data shows that in 2012, Chinese citizens made 80 million trips out of the country. That number is expected to jump to 100 million by 2015. The Chinese have now passed the Americans and Germans as the world’s number top spender in international tourism.
On Tuesday, the Tourist Administration announced a national convention that called on all Chinese citizens to be quote “civilized tourists.”
Maggie Rulli, Channel One News.