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Mainland tourist apologizes for graffiti in Taiwan

A Chinese mainland tourist who has been lambasted on the Internet for carving his name on a rock face in a Taiwan scenic area apologized to the public on Thursday for his misbehavior.


Zhao Genda, a 63-year-old pensioner from Changzhou City, Jiangsu Province, gained instant notoriety after Taiwan TV reported that he carved his name and that of his hometown on the rock face at Taipei Yeliu Geopark on Friday.


Zhao's story quickly spread to the mainland, where a report carried by the popular has drawn more than 5,000 comments, with most respondents calling his behavior "despicable" and "shameful".


In a poll conducted by major portal, almost 95 percent of the 29,404 respondents considered graffiti at tourist attractions very selfish behavior and vandalism.


Newspapers and websites in Zhao's hometown, Changzhou, also highlighted the story, urging locals to reflect on their inappropriate behavior in daily life.


Zhao said he was unaware of the controversy he had caused until Sunday when he returned home and his daughter informed him.


"My wife and daughter severely criticized me for the misconduct," he said. "I'm very regretful about that and hope to apologize to the public through the media."


According to the survey, more than 95 percent of the respondents said they would never put graffiti at tourist attractions and less than 4 percent said they did so "once in a while."


(Xinhua News Agency April 3, 2009)