Apparently a Chinese tourist wrote the characters ” 丁锦昊到此一游 (Ding Jinhao arrived here)” on one of the bas-relief sculptures at the Luxor Temple in Amun, Egypt. In turn, another Chinese tourist discovered the defacement and uploaded a picture to weibo, where it was picked up by the weixin and other news outlets. Today, Epoch Times has reported that the parents of Ding Jinhao have appologized for their son’s behavior.
Unfortunately, a few clicks around the web suggest that vandalism of cultural heritage and sacred sites is common. What seems notable in this case has been the outrage of the Chinese netizens and the consensus around “national shame”. Moreover, the use of social media to bring about this public shaming reminds us of the ongoing debate about the public face of Chinese tourists. It may also be that this vandalism shocked my friends because they believe that no matter how much Chinese people disregard the law at home, once abroad they become law-abiding citizens.