Arts & Culture

Chinese Tourist Damages 3000-Year-Old Temple in Luxor

Chinese Tourist Damages 3000-Year-Old Temple in Luxor

The carving reads "Ding Jinhao was here."
The carving reads “Ding Jinhao was here.”

A Chinese tourist damaged a 3,000-year-old site in Luxor causing outrage in China and Egypt after photographs taken by an embarrassed Chinese tourist were publicly shared on Chinese social media.

The tourist carved “Ding Jinhao was here,” while visiting Luxor in Egypt. Chinese social media and newspapers were quick to condemn and identify the offender, and the incident has attracted widespread criticism in China with headlines such as “China’s Tourist Shame.” The vandalist has reportedly been identified by Chinese internet users as a 15-year-old  middle-school student from Nanjing.

Shortly after the outrage, Ding Jinhao’s parents issued a statement to Chinese media.

“We want to apologize to the people of Egypt and to people across China,” said Ding’s mother.

According to Chinese bloggers, several tourists attempted to remove the markings themselves, resulting in the white smudge that appears in the photograph above.

In recent statements to the media, The Ministry of Antiquities confirmed earlier reports by Egyptian Streets that it is currently investigating the case. The Ministry also stated that the markings are superficial and can be easily removed to restore the temple wall to its original state.

The damage had remained unreported on Egyptian media until several days after the original photograph was posted on weibo and several hours after Egyptian Streets first wrote about it. Egyptians and non-Egyptians have expressed outrage at the damage, with many calling on Egyptian authorities to exercise greater efforts to ensure the protection of Egypt’s antiquities.

The incident highlights the lack of security and enforcement of rules that are meant to protect and preserve Egypt’s historic sites.

The Karnak and Luxor Temples as well as the Valley of the Kings are very popular with tourists, but concerns over safety have led to a sharp decline in tourists in recent months.

[This article was updated at 2:28AM, May 28th, 2013]

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