BERLIN — Like millions of visitors to Germany each year, two Chinese tourists made their way this weekend to the Reichstag, seat of the lower house of Parliament, where they snapped photos of themselves outside the historic building.
But the two tourists were hauled off to a Berlin police station after running afoul of decades-old laws forbidding the use of outlawed symbols and gestures — like those used by Hitler and his followers.
According to the police, the two snapped cellphone photos of each other making a Nazi salute outside the Reichstag — an illegal act witnessed by police officers assigned to guard the numerous historic sites in the area.
The unidentified tourists, 36 and 49, were charged early Saturday under post-1945 laws.
While citizens of Germany, Austria and other European countries are schooled in the laws that forbid resurrecting Nazi symbols and gestures, it is not clear whether the increasing numbers of Chinese visitors to Europe are conscious of the measures, most commonly used to prosecute members of the far right on the Continent.
Since China put the European Union on its list of approved tourist destinations, the volume of Chinese sightseers to Europe has surged, with many taking advantage of more direct flights to shop and see the sights and to pour millions into staggering economies.
The number of Chinese tourists to Germany each year topped two million in 2014, according to the Mercator Institute for China Studies, a research foundation based in Berlin. Tourist organizations project 2.2 million Chinese visitors a year by 2020.
In 2011, 70 million Chinese traveled abroad, and the World Tourism Organization estimated that figure would surge to 100 million by 2020.Read More...
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