The internet was in uproar after a blogger posted images of Chinese characters scratched into a Luxor temple fresco, prompting an online manhunt for the offender.
Social media users were able to identify a 14 or 15-year-old boy who had scratched "Ding Jinhao was here" into the Egyptian fresco.
The vandalism was discovered and exposed over the weekend by a blogger named Shen, who posted a photo of the graffiti on Sina Weibo, China's microblogging giant.
Embarrassed by his countryman, Shen tried to wipe off the graffiti with a paper towel, but failed.
Cue netizens' outrage. Thousands of internet users condemned Ding for "shaming" the Chinese nation, and vigilantes dug up his personal information, tracing him to the southern city of Nanjing.
Others hacked his school's website and replaced it with an image of his graffiti. Ding has understandably tried to keep out of the spotlight, but the online din became so great that his parents felt compelled to apologize, telling the local newspaper: "We want to apologize to the Egyptian people and to people who have
paid attention to this case across China."
The family has been forced to move from house to house as reporters continue to trail them, the Toronto Sun reported.
The incident comes shortly after Wang Yang, one of China's four vice premiers, chastised Chinese tourists in the state-run media for their supposed misbehavior overseas. Wang singled out those who jay-walk, spit, talk too loudly, and "willfully carve characters on items in scenic zones."
This sort of adolescent misdemeanor is hardly a new or particularly Chinese problem. As Andrew Galbraith, a former reporter in Shanghai, pointed out, it's been a problem in Egypt for centuries.
— Anthony Russell (@Thechandos) May 27, 2013
I will declare a sophisticated-APT'd-cyberwar-cloud espionage campaign on China because of this egyptianstreets.com/2013/05/26/chi…
— Mohab Ali (@0xAli) May 26, 2013
Little Ding isn't the first to leave his mark in Luxor, but wish he could have learned from the guy who did this fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc…
— Andrew Galbraith (@apgalbraith) May 27, 2013
— Mahmoud Mostafa (@mahmou6) May 27, 2013
Benjamin Carlson contributed reporting from Hong Kong. Follow him on Twitter @bfcarlson.