The parents of a Chinese teenager have apologized after their son vandalized an ancient Egyptian sculpture with graffiti.
“We want to apologize to the Egyptian people, and to people who have paid attention to this case across China,” his mother told local newspaper Modern Express on Saturday.
The 15-year-old tourist carved “Ding Jinhao was here” in Chinese in a stone sculpture inside a 3,500-year-old temple in Luxor, CNN reported.
A Chinese traveler posted a photo of the graffiti on China’s micro-blogging website Weibo.
“The saddest moment in Egypt. I’m so embarrassed that I want to hide myself. I said to the Egyptian tour guide, ‘I’m really sorry’,” the traveler wrote on Weibo.
The incident sparked a massive online backlash among Chinese, who identified the teen, and posted his date of birth and the name of his primary school online, the BBC reported.
His parents quickly contacted media outlets, and appealed to the public to go easy on their son.
“This is too much pressure for him to take,” his father said, according to the BBC.
The teen’s mother defended her son by saying he “committed the act when he was younger and had realized the seriousness of his actions,” the BBC reported.
A photographer for the state-run Xinhua news agency reported that local Egyptian staff were unable to completely remove the graffiti.