Chinese tourists arrested for Hitler salutes in Germany

Chinese tourists arrested after Hitler salutes in Germany

M - Two Chinese tourists were arrested in Berlin for making Hitler salutes outside the German parliament on Saturday, BBC reported on August 6.

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.

Berlin police said in a statement that two male tourists, aged 36 and 49, were using their smartphones to photograph each other engaging in the salutes before the historic site, which is home to Germany's parliament. The maximum penalty is three years in prison. They were released on bail of 500 euros, or almost $600, each. Laws prohibiting the salute also exist across Austria, Sweden, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland and several other nations.

Police say officers witnessed the middle-aged men make the salute while snapping photos on their mobile phones.

The increase in the number of Chinese tourists and the growing efforts by countries to attract them have not been met with open arms around the globe, as many complain of a clash of cultures, language and common courtesy. Hitler used the blaze as an excuse to crack down on freedoms in the country.

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A police spokesman said that the Chinese tourists were allowed to leave Germany during the investigation into their illegal actions.

In 2011, police arrested a Canadian tourist for giving the hateful salute while taking pictures outside the Reichstag.

Zhou added that the 500-euro fine was not bail and no further criminal punishment would be given.

For several years now, the government in Beijing has expressed growing concern over embarrassing behavior by Chinese tourists traveling overseas, and has tried to persuade travelers to respect local laws and customs.

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