Nazi Salute in Germany Lands Chinese Tourists a Fine and Arrest

Posted August 08, 2017

It is illegal to use symbols of Nazism in Germany.

The iconic Reichstag, a powerful symbol and building of some historical note in Germany, was engulfed in flames by arsonists, most likely paid by the Nazi party, in 1933.

If convicted, the two men, aged 36 and 49, could be slapped with a fine or a prison sentence of up to three years.

The pair was released after posting a bail of 500 Euros ($593).

The salute is also banned in several other European countries, The Washington Post reported.

The Chinese holiday-makers were spotted by police officers patrolling the historic landmark as they snapped smartphone images of each other raising their arms in the straight-armed gesture that has been outlawed in Germany since shortly after World War II. They were asked to leave the country during the investigation.

The embassy suggested that tourists traveling overseas from China should take care to respect local laws and raised concerns that such controversies would harm the country's image.

The same charges are most commonly used to prosecute members of the far right.

The Reichstag, outside which the Chinese tourists posed, is also a touchy subject in German history. The two men are part of a huge wave of Chinese tourists that visit Europe every year, with the Mercator Institute For China Studies estimating that 2.2 million Chinese tourists will visit Germany in 2020, the New York Times reports.