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Tourists asked to be on best behavior

By Cang Wei in Nanjing and Chen Xin in Beijing  (China Daily)

10:18, May 29, 2013

The Chinese government on Tuesday put into effect a national convention calling on tourists to take note of their behavior and act civilized when traveling.

A set of detailed regulations, the convention was issued by the National Tourism Administration and posted on the central government's website on Tuesday.

"Being a civilized tourist is the obligation of each resident," states the convention, which singles out "protecting cultural relics" as one of the norms to be abided by tourists.

The convention rejects behaviors such as doodling on, or carving characters into, ancient relics, as well as climbing or touching cultural relics. Photos can only be taken of relics when allowed by local regulations, according to the convention.

It also promotes seven other norms to be followed by residents, including maintaining a clean environment, complying with public orders, protecting ecology, protecting public infrastructure and utilities, respecting other people's rights, showing courtesy to others and seeking appropriate entertainment.

The convention came after graffiti recently left in an Egyptian temple by a teenage Chinese tourist caused uproar among Chinese residents, who have reflected on how to better regulate behaviors in order to build a good national image.

The teen scratched "Ding Jinhao visited here" in Chinese on a temple wall in the ancient city Luxor, and the incident came to light when another Chinese tourist posted a photo of it on Sina Weibo.

The post received more than 270,000 comments within five days, with most netizens criticizing the inappropriate behavioration.

Some angry netizens even tracked down Ding, a high school student in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, and hacked the website of his former primary school, altering the site with the message "Ding Jinhao visited here".

The boy's parents on Sunday apologized to the public for their son's behavior, saying that the boy had cried all night after the public outcry.

However, some people argue that Ding inscribed the sculpture with the help from his parents or other adults after the micro blog of Xinhua News Agency posted on Monday a photo of the sculpture, on which the scribbling has almost been wiped off.

According to the photo, the knee of the character on the stone sculpture is about the height of a man. Therefore, netizens argue that without the help of an adult, the teenager could not be able to scribble on the upper part of the sculpture's body.

Ding and his parents refused to take any further interviews on Tuesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Egyptian ambassador to China said in a post on the micro blog of the embassy's tourism section that Chinese people's anger toward Ding's behavior shows that Chinese people attach great importance to the cultural heritage of mankind.

"People of both Egypt and China are witnesses of ancient civilization and have made great contributions to the progress of mankind," said the ambassador, "The impolite behavior of the Chinese boy shows his ignorance toward the historic value of cultural heritage," he said.

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