Chinese Teen Identified In Desecration Of 3,500 Luxor Temple


We previously discussed the disgraceful defacing of a wall of the 3500 year old Luxor Temple in Egypt by a Chinese tourist. The wall survived thousands of years in pristine condition only to fall victim to a Chinese tourist. We now have an identification of culprit according to Chinese newspapers: Ding Jinhao, 15, from Nanjing. The graffiti reads “Ding Jinhao visited here” in Chinese.

Many in China have expressed their shame at the unspeakable act of vandalism against this important cultural and historical site. While his parents have apologized, it seems odd that they did not see the act or its aftermath while visiting the temple. I also wonder why this teenager never learned the most basic values of respect for other cultural and property. Fifteen years old is not some toddler with a marker.

I have repeatedly been shocked by the behavior of the growing numbers of Chinese tourists in the United States and Europe. In our most recent visit to France, we were astonished by the rudeness of the Chinese tourists in shoving people out of the way, including my children, at museums and their refusal to listen to museum guides and staff in not touching art or crossing lines. We saw it happen a dozen times on that trip alone. At one museum, a Chinese couple actually knocked my 6-year-old to the ground to get a picture of an art work and never apologized for the act despite my objections.

I would not mention this experience unless it happened repeatedly. I do not mean to paint all Chinese tourists in this way. Obviously from the response to this story, many Chinese share our shock with the graffiti. However, on trips to China, you often see the same conduct of rudeness, shoving, and disregard for others in public areas. Years ago, the Chinese government actually started a campaign to try to get Chinese to get civil to tourists because of the complaints.  I asked a friend who is a leading Chinese expert about this problem and he says that it is a long-standing problem in China and with Chinese tourists that has deep cultural roots. In response to the latest controversy, the Chinese government issued a statement calling on Chinese to act in a “civilized” fashion as tourists.

As for young Ding Jinhao, he appears to have gone 15 years without being taught the most fundamental rules of respect. This is a costly lesson not for him but for the world in the damaging of this temple.

11 thoughts on “Chinese Teen Identified In Desecration Of 3,500 Luxor Temple”

  1. “On the other hand, you don’t see the Chinese wiping out tens of thousands of Muslims with cluster-fragmentary, white phosphorus, and depleted uranium ordnance. Nor do you see them running millions of Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, Afghans, Iraqis, and Pakistanis out of their homes”

    Yes, the Chinese gov’t is virtuous, they just limit their atrocities to the Tibetans and the Muslim peoples of their eastern borders.

  2. If you want to see Chinese graffiti on a famed world landmark, professor, I suggest you take a walk on the Great Wall of China.

    As my Taiwanese wife says about the rude Chinese tourists visiting here in Taiwan: “All they’ve got is money.” (But if they fail to show up at the next US Treasury Bill auction, there goes the US dollar.)

    On the other hand, you don’t see the Chinese wiping out tens of thousands of Muslims with cluster-fragmentary, white phosphorus, and depleted uranium ordnance. Nor do you see them running millions of Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, Afghans, Iraqis, and Pakisanis out of their homes. It takes a really Ugly American — either uniformed military or private corporate mercenary — to do that.

    The Chinese have an almost impossibly long distance to catch up in the rude department. I doubt if they’ll ever make it.

  3. Now I know why the Japanese had antipathy towards Nanking or Nanjing or however ya spull it back in the late 30s. It is one thing to hump a town and another thing to rape one. Based on this experience the Egyptians would do well to keep the Chnese out of the temples in Luxor and Karnak. Keep em off the camels at the pyramids up by Cairo too.

  4. The worst tourists I have encountered was Washington, D.C. And it didn’t matter the nationality or ethnicity. But for only part of the year. August.

  5. maybe he thought it was payback for the taliban blowing up the buddha statues?

  6. I’m glad the teenager was identified and the parents at least have apologized. There have been several articles recently about the boom in Chinese tourism and the attendant problems. Vandalism, shoving people, etc shouldn’t be tolerated and the authorities should be notified if it happens. At the same time we need to keep in mind that there is a cultural learning curve –not too long ago it was American tourists who were considered the most obnoxious, and subsequently when Russia opened up suddenly it was Russian tourists, etc. I think the majority of these problems will subside within the next few years. Chinese mass tourism is so new that it’s entirely possible that some people in tour groups have only visited a few museum in their lives (as opposed to people from other countries who likely have visited dozens before they get out of high school).

  7. Restoration (if possible) seemingly would be costly, it would be appropriate for the parents of this teen to bear the cost of same. I would hope that the Chinese government would enforce such restitution. Though I have not experienced it firsthand (as Jonathan) there are many stories of the rudeness of Chinese tourists. But then, are they much different than many other tourists – our own included?

  8. You meet rudeness in all walks of life….

    The interesting story is how the Chinese were able to obtain state (US) secrets…

  9. Wow. I wonder what the government in China and Egypt has planned for him? Not looking good if history is any barometer.

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