A family in Nanjing, China, was left embarrassed and apologetic after their 15-year-old son was found to have defaced an ancient Egyptian relic with the phrase "Ding Jinhao was here."

A photo of the 3,500-year-old Luxor temple relic and the teenager's contribution was posted by another tourist to the Chinese social networking site Weibo last Friday.

It sparked significant outrage, which led to a massive "human flesh search" for the boy's identity.

He was eventually tracked down to a middle school in the Jiangsu Province capital, and reporters soon arrived in droves to interview the boy's family.

In a statement published by China Daily, Ding's parents said they wished to apologize to the Egyptian people on their son's behalf, as well as "to people who have paid attention to this case across China."

Speaking with Modern Express, the parents said they had failed to "properly educate their child" and asked they he be given another chance.

Many aren't quite ready to forgive, but at least one person, a Tourism Management professor at Fudan University, is sticking up for the parents.

"It's not only the boy, there are other tourists that leave graffiti on relics," Gu Xiaoming is quoted as saying.

Indeed, the problem has apparently become widespread enough for the Chinese government to enact a Tourism Law granting travel agencies the authority to punish violations of "social ethics."

As for the defaced relief, efforts to restore it have been met with some success.

[photo via Weibo]