As reported by Associated Press (AP), a Chinese teenager who defaced an ancient temple in Egypt with graffiti has come under major criticism at home in China. The public as well as press have widely criticized and commented on the incident while emphasizing that the Chinese need to cultivate a good image overseas as more Chinese travel abroad.
The teen scratched “Ding Jinhao visited here” in Chinese on a temple wall in the ancient city of Luxor. The world found out about the incident as another Chinese tourist posted a photo of it on a popular microblog with the comment: “My saddest moment in Egypt. Ashamed and unable to show my face.” as reported by AP.
Many criticized Ding’s act as an embarrassment to the country and even the People’s Daily, which is a government sponsored paper echoed on the sentiments and criticisms. The outcry prompted Ding’s parents to publicly apologize.
The most interesting comment came from a well known and prominent journalist with Shanghai Television, who wrote on his microblog: “Why there are so many citizens who go abroad and humiliate us? How many generations will it take to change this kind of behavior?”
This incident happened as Chinese tourism overseas has seen an explosion in growth over the past decade, fueled by rising incomes and the relaxation of government restrictions on citizens’ ability to travel abroad. China is now ranked the fastest-growing source of international tourists in the world according to the U.N.’s World Tourism Organization. The organization said the volume of international trips by Chinese tourists has grown from 10 million in 2000 to 83 million in 2012 and most importantly this accompanies a nearly eightfold increase in spending.
What is most impressive in terms of economic impact and spending in those countries that are the destinations for Chinese tourists is that China also surpassed Germany to become the largest spender in international tourism, with tourists’ expenditure amounting to a record $102 billion. However, Chinese tourists, who mostly travel with tour groups, are frequently criticized for rude behavior.
Officials in Egypt have reported that the graffiti has now been removed and the wall has been cleaned and restored to the original condition.