Published on : Friday, August 11, 2017
Two Chinese tourists were arrested recently for making Nazi gestures outside the Reichstag building in Berlin and released on €500 ($590) bail. Chinese tourism, which has shot up in the recent years, is perhaps the biggest phenomenon to hit the international travel industry.
The UNWTO has predicted that by 2020, the Chinese tourists would take more than 200 million trips. With more direct flights, relaxed restrictions and disposable income, this German incident is not the first time that Chinese have made headlines for breaking the law while traveling. Whether it was the graffiti at a Luxor temple or brawls on international flights, the image of Chinese tourists has not been very positive.
This particular detainment and imposed fine in Berlin is in no way targeting Chinese travelers since this is not the first time that the Hitler salute has landed people in trouble. In fact, exactly six years ago, outside the same historical Reichstag Building, a Canadian tourist was taken away by the police for doing the same gesture. In November 2007, a German native was imprisoned for six months after performing the Hitler salute in response to an earlier sentencing. There were several other similar incidents.
Although such displays would be protected under “the freedom of speech” in some countries, in Germany, this is a criminal offense which carries fines and/or imprisonment of up to three years.
Hence, regardless of our nationality, we need to act as responsible citizens since we are all ambassadors for our countries when we travel abroad.