Chinese tourists arrested for performing Nazi salute in Berlin

Chinese tourists arrested for performing Nazi salute in Berlin

Two Chinese tourists have been arrested for posing for photos using the Nazi salute in Germany.

Germany has strict laws regarding hate speech and Nazi symbols.

The Reichstag building has a history bound up with Hitler's rise, as the Nazis blamed the Communists when it was destroyed by fire in 1933.

Police said the tourists took cellphone pictures of each other delivering the Nazi salute - recognized as a symbol pledging support for Adolf Hitler - outside of the Reichstag on Saturday.

Violation of the law is punishable by fine or up to three years incarceration.

The men were questioned by police and released after paying 500 euros ($796) bail each.

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In 2013, a Chinese tourist was arrested for making Hitler salutes in Austria. Germans themselves also fall afoul of the law, with two schoolchildren from Rostock also charged for making Nazi salutes this year.

Criminal proceedings have been started against the middle-aged men for using symbols from a banned organisation.

But it is not clear how familiar foreign visitors are with the postwar constitutional statute, typically used to prosecute members of the far right.

The spokeswoman said the men could leave Germany during investigations into the incident, and if a fine was handed down, the bail money they had already paid was likely to cover it.

In Germany, Chinese tourists make up the largest majority of Asian tourists, according to research done in 2014 by the Mercator Institute for China Studies, a German think-tank.

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